Measures for better parking of e-bikes and e-scooter trial

Published: Friday, September 22, 2023

  • E-bikes are proving popular and have an important role to play but need to be better managed.
  • Council will provide parking bays to help riders and protect pavements for pedestrians.
  • E-bikes offer healthy, affordable and sustainable method of transport.

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The council is taking action to stop dockless hire bikes blocking pavements and creating hazards for pedestrians.

The council is setting up designated parking bays in busy town centres where hire bikes can be left by riders at the end of their journeys. Riders will have to use these spaces or risk being banned from hiring bikes.

Jenny Yates, Wandsworth’s Cabinet Member for Transport said: “We support the use of electric hire bikes as they offer residents a healthy, affordable and sustainable method of transport. 

“Residents are making tens of thousands of journeys on e-bikes in Wandsworth every month and helping to contribute to the council’s transport and air quality objectives and targets

“However, on the flip side, some users are careless about where they leave bikes at the end of their journeys and this has led to a significant number of complaints about poor parking and blocked pavements.

“Our scheme will seek to remove these pavement obstructions by working in partnership with the bike hire companies to ensure their bikes are parked in mandatory bays in town centres and busy areas, meeting the needs of riders whilst not disadvantaging others, particularly pedestrians.”

The council has already identified more than 100 locations where hire bikes could be parked without causing obstruction. The use of these spaces will now be the subject of local consultation.

The council’s measures follow a series of initiatives undertaken by one operator to tackle careless parking. These include:

•    End trip photo: riders are required to take a photo of where they parked the e-bike and upload the photo to their account for immediate review. 
•    Escalating fines: once the photo is reviewed, if the bike has been left in an inappropriate location the rider can be fined between £20-£25 depending on severity. Research shows that over 80 per cent of riders do not reoffend if they are fined.
•    GPS zoning technology prevents the bikes being left outside the agreed operational zone.

One company is also introducing new technology which will make it harder for their bikes to be hacked. This will be particularly useful at targeting underage riders.

The latest data from this operator shows there were over 200,000 trips in Wandsworth in June alone with an estimated 1 million-plus trips taken in the borough this year.

London wide studies also suggest that around eight per cent of e-bike trips would otherwise be by motor vehicle.  In Wandsworth, it is estimated that this single company’s operations saved between three and 6.5 tonnes of CO2 in June.

  • The borough is also set to join a pilot e-scooter hire scheme that has been operating in ten other parts of London since June 2021.

Wandsworth is poised to join the London e-scooter trial which has been approved by the Department for Transport (DfT) until May 2024. This is subject to contractual agreement with Transport for London and the e-scooter hire companies and would require users to adhere to the same mandatory parking arrangements as bike riders.

E-scooters in the London trial can only be used in participating boroughs. The geo-fence technology will stop an e-scooter operating outside a designated zone and unlike e-bikes, they cannot operate manually without power. E-scooters can only be parked within a designated parking bay in any part of the borough and the ride cannot end if a rider attempts to leave an e-scooter outside of a bay.

Riding an e-scooter as part of the London trial is the only lawful way to ride an e-scooter on the public highway in London. The use of private e-scooters on the public highway remains illegal. 

Riders can only hire an e-scooter if they hold a valid UK driving licence. As part of their membership, individual operators also have measures in place to ensure that their riders are over 18-years-old. 

Joining the pilot scheme will help determine if the e-scooter scheme is sustainable long-term in and offer insight into likely future demand and growth.