The leader of Wandsworth Borough Council has warned Lime that it will begin impounding its e-bikes if more isn’t done to ensure they are parked responsibly. Simon Hogg has called for “stronger messages” and “greater penalties” and says council officers will start removing e-bikes from today unless steps are taken.
Wandsworth does not currently have an agreement with Lime, but the firm’s dockless e-bikes are often ridden in from neighbouring boroughs.
“We are actively encouraging cycling and other sustainable forms of transport but it is unhelpful for this company to simply drop thousands of bicycles on London’s streets without any warning or discussion beforehand,” said Hogg.
In his letter, he said that the bikes were, “causing unacceptable obstructions on our pavements.”
Writing to Lime Bikes CEO Wayne Ting, he said: “Wandsworth Council has agreed to provide dedicated parking bays for e-bikes and to enter into agreements with operators regarding their use, but more action is needed urgently by Lime to ensure your customers are using your bikes responsibly.
“I am therefore asking that you increase your efforts in distributing and redistributing bikes to avoid obstructing pavements, and that you provide stronger messages to riders and greater penalties for those who leave bikes in poor locations.
“I have instructed our council officers to remove all Lime bikes that are obstructing Wandsworth's streets on Friday of this week, 18th November 2022, unless steps are taken by Lime to make sure they are parked in a more considerate way.
“We would prefer not to take this action. However, we will not hesitate to do so – unless Lime takes immediate steps to operate in a more responsible way.”
Last month Lime introduced parking wardens, deploying them near busy e-scooter bays in Central London where they handed out ‘Good Parking Notices’ and free ride tokens to those who parked responsibly.
Ting also recently suggested that some car parking spots could be reallocated to micromobility as light electric vehicles would utilise the same space more efficiently.
“People complain to me on social media that an e-bike is blocking their street – but right behind that bike is hundreds of cars taking up a lot more space,” he said.
“Why don’t we take a tenth of the 6.8 million car parking spots and give them over to bike parking instead?”
Hal Stevenson, senior public affairs manager at Lime UK told the BBC the firm’s measures to tackle inconsiderate parking included geofenced no parking zones, mandatory end trip photos to review rider parking, an enhanced system of rider education, warnings, fines and bans. He also said Lime would double the team retrieving bikes.
Stevenson said: "We are focused on working with the council to further improve user parking in the borough through these policies ahead of the launch of dedicated parking spaces for shared e-bikes, which will provide a long term solution to these issues."