Labour Westminster City Council has launched a network of parking bays for cyclists using hire e-bikes. Riders using TIER, Lime or Forest bikes will now have to park their bikes in the designated bays to end their journeys, or they could face fines and even a ban.
As part of an 18-month trial, the council has extended a number of existing bays designated for e-scooters and has repurposed underused car parking spaces and yellow lined areas into e-bike parking bays. In addition to the 200 physical parking bays, more than 100 geofenced virtual bays have been created at under-used bike stands and will also form part of the network.
The aim of the scheme is to remove badly-parked bikes from the pavement, ensuring bikes are parked safely and not blocking pavements for pedestrians. The council and the bike companies also aim to encourage cycling as an environmentally friendly and convenient way to get around central London.
The council has worked closely with bike companies Lime, TIER and Forest over several months to identify suitable locations for the parking bays, which will be rolled out during October and November. Geofencing will be used to ensure riders complete their journeys in a designated bay, and those who don’t comply can be fined or even be banned from using the platform.
Teams of Rangers employed by the operators will be required to patrol the parking bays and streets to ensure that e-bikes are properly parked and to move any which are blocking the pavement.
Westminster City Council has repeatedly called for the government to introduce legislation to address the limited regulatory powers to manage dockless bike schemes in England. The council has lobbied government to announce a Transport Bill in the upcoming King’s Speech on 7 November.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality, said:
“We’re very excited to launch our network of e-bike parking bays across the City of Westminster.
“The popularity of hire e-bikes has exploded over the last year, but unfortunately the council has received many complaints about bikes being left in the middle of the pavement creating a safety hazard for pedestrians.
“We’ve worked with the bike companies to develop a solution which means people can continue to cycle around the city safely and ensure the pavements are accessible for everyone.
“And the council continues to push for new legislation from government to regulate e-bike hire schemes across London.”
“It will no doubt take a few weeks for all e-bike riders to get used to the new parking system, but we hope that very soon the vast majority will park their bikes safely in the new designated bays”.