E-bike yobs have turned our quiet street into a bicycle dumping ground
EXCLUSIVE E-bike yobs have turned our quiet corner of Kensington into a bicycle dumping ground! Pensioners give up on going out due to pavements blocked with pay-as-you-ride gadgets
A retired pensioner couple say their quiet corner of West London has been turned into a graveyard for Lime e-bikes which are ‘flytipped’ on the side of the pavement forcing vulnerable residents into the road.
Sally Gibbons, who served as as chairman of the Edge Hill Area Residents Association, claims the leafy Wimbledon suburb has been overrun by the bikes in the last few months.
The bikes, which can be used by anyone with a Lime membership, operate on a pay as you go basis and can be left anywhere in London after rides.
But Sally says the fact the bikes can just be dropped anywhere means the rights of pavement users are being pushed to the side – something which is affecting her mobility impaired husband’s quality of life.
Due to an accident a few years ago, Sally’s husband sometimes must use a wheelchair to get around but on days when bikes are left on the pavement she says they often have to weigh up if its worth leaving the house.
Sally Gibbons says her leafy Wimbledon suburb has been overrun by e-bikes
The bikes, which can be used by anyone with a Lime membership, operate on a pay as you go basis and can be left anywhere in London after rides
Sally says the e-bikes are affecting her mobility impaired husband’s quality of life
She told MailOnline: ‘Sometimes they’re lying three abreast on the pavement and there’s no way around them but to go into the road which isn’t safe for anyone.
‘I’d have to push him right out around the parked cars while traffic goes by, some days we just don’t bother with the hassle.
It’s not just us – a father who brings his young child down to one of the prep schools has also raised the issue.
‘He says half the time there isn’t space for his buggy and he has to put the child in the road, how’s that right?’
E-bikes can weigh twice as much as a conventional bicycle making them hard for some people to move.
In November, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was accused of ‘losing control’ of the city’s electric vehicle situation with discarded rental e-bikes making the city a ‘minefield’ for the old and blind.
Currently, the Mayor’s office does not have the power to regulate rental bikes and says it is pushing the Government to give it more controls to improve safety.
Sally continued: ‘People just look at them, and they think, ‘Oh, it’s great. People can cycle around the city which reduces emissions’, all this sort of stuff.
‘But it’s become this sort of littering thing almost because they are enormous things.
‘I think it amounts to fly tipping – It’s the way the schemes are being implemented that’s doing the damage.
‘Half the time you don’t see them until it’s too late. I very nearly fell over bikes parallel park to cross the middle of the pavement. Something has to be done.’
E-bikes can weigh twice as much as a conventional bicycle making them hard for some people to move
Some London councils have taken action on dumped e-bikes by simply removing them from the streets
Some authorities have already vowed to take action on the issue including Westminster Council which says it has struck a deal with operators to invest in parking bays for their bicycles around Central London.
It said earlier this year that it would draw up plans to fine inconsiderate users of the pushbikes £20 if they fail to park it in designated areas – and continue charging them for the rental until they rectify the issue.
READ MORE: E-bike scourge of London: Pressure grows on Sadiq Khan to ban the two-wheeled gadgets that are hijacked by yobs and litter pavements and streets
Known as ‘geofencing’, this would bring rental e-bikes into line with e-scooters, which require their users to park them in designated areas in order to end the rental.
Other authorities have taken action on the dumped e-bikes by simply removing them from the streets – only for the e-bike company to take them back.
Hammersmith and Fulham borough council got so tired of getting complaints about dumped bicycles that it impounded 100 of them in August.
But Lime workers went into the lot without permission and took back 70 of their own bikes, the Standard reports. Lime said the employees responsible had been sacked.
Hal Stevenson, Director of Policy for UK and Ireland at Lime said: ‘Lime understands the importance of not obstructing pavements and other shared spaces and is working with Merton Council to implement designated parking locations for users to park safely and responsibly across the borough.
‘These locations will be introduced next year, helping to improve user parking and prevent further issues.
‘In the meantime, all Lime users are required to take a photo of how they have parked their bike, with obstructive parkers warned and fined. Bikes that are reported as in the way are collected quickly by our 24/7 London operations team.’
The Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: ‘Dockless rental e-bikes are a popular way to get around London, but cities lack the legal powers to properly regulate them.
‘Working with other cities, we have repeated asked government for the urgent legislation needed improve safety, ensure parking is better controlled and provide a better experience to customers.
‘The government’s failure to include a bill to address this in the King’s Speech was a missed opportunity that could have made dockless e-bikes work better for everyone.’
Discarded rental e-bikes and scooters now a common sight across the capital making the city a ‘minefield’ for the blind
Safety campaigner Sarah Gayton has called for e-bikes to be regulated and taken off the streets
Currently, the Mayor’s office does not have the power to regulate rental bikes
The drama comes a month after the National Federation of the Blind of the UK’s Sarah Gayton said current regulations – which allow e-bike users to deposit their vehicles at random – are not inclusive to all pavement users.
Speaking to MailOnline, Sarah explained: ‘They are simply not safe they way they are being allowed to be dumped on pavement and public spaces in London.
READ MORE: One-year-old boy loses his right index finger after it got trapped in the chain of an abandoned Tier e-bike – as his father calls for tougher rules on where rentals can be dumped
‘The Mayor has completely lost control of the safety and accessibility the pavement space which is a public resource that everyone needs to use as a pedestrian to get where they need to go when they get off the bus, out of a black cab, out of a car or when they stop riding their bike.
‘If should be one of the most basic things The Mayor should be able to sort out with the London Boroughs.
‘The bikes need to be removed immediately and only return when there are lockable docking stations are installed off the pavement.
‘The Mayor talks about healthy streets but they are far from it, the pavements are littered with dockless bikes creating trip hazards and obstructions.
‘The lack of urgency from the Major in trying to resolve the problem is extremely worrying.
‘He needs to urgently act of this problem and stop the companies operating the dockless model.’
Tier is among a number of companies permitted to operate ‘dockless’ e-bikes in the city, alongside firms such as Forest and Lime.
A number of companies are permitted to operate ‘dockless’ e-bikes in the city
The abandoned bicycles are tip hazards and barriers for the visually impaired
Unlike London’s fleet of Santander Cycles (so-called ‘Boris bikes’) and bicycle hire schemes in other cities like Manchester and Glasgow, the bikes do not have to be parked at a dedicated docking station to end the rental.
Instead, users lock and unlock the bike using an app on their phone – meaning they can be ditched just about anywhere.
However, pictures taken from across London by MailOnline show the sheer scale of the blight on communities the e-bike revolution is causing.
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