Council Wasn't Bluffing When it Threatened Lime Bikes

Cycles blocking the pavements removed and impounded

Images released by the council show that at least ten bikes were seized

The threat by Wandsworth Council to remove Lime hire bikes blocking pavements turned out to be no bluff with at least ten cycles being loaded onto a lorry and taken to a compound this Friday (18 November).

Earlier in the week Council Leader Simon Hogg had written to the company’s chief executive to warn that unless swift action was taken to prevent Lime Bikes blocking pavements the council would begin impounding them. This was followed by a high-level meeting between Cllr Hogg and senior representatives of the company who pledged to heed the council’s warning and take immediate steps to tackle the problem.

‘Lime’ branded hire bikes, which don’t need docking stations, had begun littering the streets of Wandsworth causing serious obstructions for residents, shoppers and visitors to the borough – prompting a flood of complaints.

Councillor Hogg said, “Early impressions are that our message has started to get through. However, despite some action by Lime, there were still numerous bikes blocking streets in Wandsworth today.

“We hope that our action today spells out our determination to tackle this issue and sends a strong message that Lime must make sure their bikes are parked responsibly in our borough.

“These are early days and we will be actively monitoring the situation to make sure Lime doesn’t let up in its efforts to ensure its customers park their bikes more carefully and considerately.

“We will continue to take action in the coming days and weeks.”

Conservative opposition leader Cllr Will Sweet said “Hire bikes are a great way to get around but must be parked responsibly. Unfortunately, these bikes are often left blocking pavements, making life difficult for residents with mobility needs, those with sight impairments, and those with young children.

"I’m pleased the Council Leader is finally acting on our recommendations. Better late than never. Whilst this is welcome progress, we need a long-term solution. Wandsworth Conservatives’ petition called for the implementation of a three-point plan - the Council has only committed to two of those three points. We now need the Council to act on the third point, which is giving council officers the option of fining companies if they’d don’t ensure compliance with the new designated bays.”

The bikes can be a nuisance for the disabled or people with prams and pushchairs
The bikes can be a nuisance for the disabled or people with prams and pushchairs

Hal Stevenson, Senior Public Affairs Manager of Lime UK responded by saying, “Lime understands the importance of not obstructing pavements and other shared spaces. It is vital that our service works for everyone sharing our streets. Though we have never deployed bikes in Wandsworth, we are currently seeing high numbers of vehicles ridden into the borough, as a result of record demand for the service from local residents and visitors.

"To address this we have introduced a number of policies to more effectively manage bikes left in the borough. These include: GPS-based no parking zones, mandatory end trip photos to help review rider parking, an enhanced system of rider education, warnings, fines and bans and a 50% increase in our out of warehouse team size to help retrieve obstructive vehicles even faster.

"We are focused on working with the Council to further improve user parking in the borough ahead of the launch of dedicated parking spaces for shared e-bikes, which will provide a long-term solution to these issues.”

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November 23, 2022