Contractors working for Lime recently took back a number of the micromobility firm’s e-bikes from a Hammersmith and Fulham Council pound. The workers responsible have since been sacked.
According to the Evening Standard, about 70 Lime bikes went missing from one of the council’s pounds in Fulham, under the Hammersmith flyover. Contractors had reportedly used the bikes’ GPS to track their position and had removed them from the lock-up.
A spokesperson said: “Lime understands the importance of keeping pavements in Hammersmith and Fulham - and across London - clear of obstructions. We are working constructively in partnership with the council to recover the limited number of bikes that have been impounded via the agreed process.
“An operations contractor recently collected bikes impounded by the council without permission from Lime or the local authority. This broke the terms of Lime’s agreement with this contractor and we have now terminated this relationship.”
Hammersmith and Fulham Council rolled out a new reporting tool in April for residents to report rental e-bikes and e-scooters that are parked in an, “illegal or anti-social way”. Last month it said it had received more than 1,500 reports of e-bikes blocking walkways and roads since the launch.
The council says it will remove bikes if the operators fail to do so, with operators also being charged for the additional cost of seizing and storing the confiscated bikes. Rental e-bikes in the borough include Lime, Dott, Tier and Forest.
Councillor Sharon Holder, H&F cabinet member for the public realm, said: “It’s great that more people are choosing to cycle rather than drive. But too many bikes are being parked dangerously on pavements, causing big problems for older and disabled people and families pushing babies.
“We’re asking people who hire a bike to be considerate and park safely. And we’ve made it clear to the companies that they need to step up enforcement of the rules.”
A council spokesperson said the recent incident had been reported to police. They added: “After we removed the dumped Lime e-bikes, we’re extremely disappointed that they didn’t follow the agreed return policy - but we’ll continue to promote cycling.”
Council leader Stephen Cowan said there had been meetings with Lime since the incident and it had been “sorted”.
A recent report by transport consultancy Steer in partnership with Lime recommended the creation of 10,000 new shared e-bike parking spaces across London, based on finding that half of all users would not walk two minutes to pick up or drop off a bike at a designated location.
Earlier this year it was announced that roughly 250 e-bike parking bays would be installed in the West End, in a bid to tackle dockless cycles left on pavements. Last November, the leader of Wandsworth Borough Council warned Lime that it will begin impounding its e-bikes if more isn’t done to ensure they are parked responsibly.