Poll results: how do we stop eBikes cluttering the pavement?

All your ideas, comments and anger, distilled

Earlier this month, we ran a feature and a poll question in our regular Friday newsletter focused on the cluttering of eBikes and the issue it can pose as they carve out their important role in the modern-day urban transport mix.

With much current debate on the issues of youngsters hacking Lime bikes, and badly parked/abandoned cycles blocking pavements and roads seemingly around every corner, we asked our 5k subscribers what they felt could and should be done.

Here are the vote results, followed by the comments and suggestions:

How would you solve the problem of eBikes cluttering the pavements?
Offer free/affordable bikes legally to under 18s
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 31%
Invest more in educating young people on the topic
🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ 18%
Ban these damned eBikes and prioritise cars
🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️ 27%
I have an alternative idea…
🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ 24%

Helping under 18s access more options was a popular choice. “Why are bikes not available to younger people – perhaps as part of the TfL card scheme?” suggested one reader, although when we spoke to the Council and the operators they were adamant that safety concerns we the main reason for the age restriction.

“Offering free bikes won’t make young people care more, and trying to educate them solely on this matter would be a waste of time and money,” came a comment in relation to our option for investing in education on the topic. “It would be silly to prioritise cars instead or ban eBikes. Just put the incentives in place and those who care will buy them for their own use. Young people don’t need expensive eBikes. You can find regular bikes for less than £200.”

Others focus on tougher or improved rules and regulation; “Bigger penalties for providers,” said one, “Make the eBike company pay a fine each time,” declared another, “More police to stop / deter the hacking”, chimed one more.

The problem with clobbering the operators for the actions of the public is that it has the potential to push the bikes off the roads at exactly the time where we need to be investing in low and zero carbon alternatives, so does not make for the best policy.

Only last week, Lime have been asking for more bays across London and a joined-up approach to regulation across the capital’s boroughs. 

Camden has actually blazed a trail in demonstrating that working together with operators on regulations and licencing, not dishing out punishing fines, is the way forwards, and councilor Adam Harrison backed up Lime’s pleas when we spoke with him last week

 “Promote the existing Cycle To Work scheme more”, “Provide more bike parking and places to leave them” and “make both private e-bikes and private e-scooters legal,” said other comments left in our poll, a little more constructively.

Then this from one always outspoken local “Lime is an arrogant and indifferent operator. Despite a new duopolist contract with Camden that started in May, the hacking, dumping and sub-teenage riding continues – to the danger of pedestrians. Many people that hire these bikes have no road sense! It is a danger to all road users! Riders jump on the bikes and wobble all over the road, cycle on pavements and go through red lights. There should be some rule that riders have a license and been tested and safe to ride.”

And then, this being an issue around cycling, there were the inevitable polarised suggestions that treat cyclists, pedestrians and motorists as actual mortal enemies (despite how most of us alternate between two or more of those categories regularly).

“I despise people who ride bikes and e-scooters in London. Most of them have no intention of obeying the Highway Code, and any adult who rides on the pavement, endangering pedestrians, should be shot.”

Ah yes, this being t’internet, there’s our first death threat – and it wasn’t the only one. A simple “Bring back hanging” left by one commenter sums up the, er, passions that swirl around these issues. 

Dockless eBikes are still a new transport option, and the technology and regulation around them is moving at pace. 

Camdenist strongly believes there’s a bright future for these vehicles as the sector matures, so we’ll keep on covering this story, and welcome your input in future polls, or email us on team@camdenist.com 

To encourage more people to join the transport revolution, Forest are offering all Camdenist readers 60mins of free ride credit on their fleet zero-emissions eBikes.

Sign up to receive our weekly Friday email (if you don’t get it every week already) and we’ll instantly send you the code to claim the free minutes.

You can use them on all rides over the next 3 months (that doesn’t include the standard free 10 mins per day that everyone gets with Forest too)!

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