Tuesday 11 December 2018

Will Lime-E, dockless electric-assisted bikes, be a success in Brent?

Outside the Civic Centre
Outside Kensal Green station (Photo Kensal RA)
You may have seen, well the colour scheme makes them unmissable, these Lime-E bikes around the borough and you are likely to see a lot more of them as they can be left in any location after use.

Marketed as 'dockless' they are picked up at a location via a phone app and can be left elsewhere once used, unlike Boris bikes. Users are asked to be responsible in choosing where to leave them but some towns there has been controversy over bikes 'littering' the area after use.

Brent Council hailed the scheme at its recent launch:
Lime, the urban mobility company launched their bikes at Brent's civic centre on Friday 7th December.
Called Lime-E, the dockless, electric-assist bikes are equipped with a 250-watt motor and have a maximum assisted speed of 14.8 miles per hour. The electric battery reduces the effort required to cycle, making the bikes suitable and accessible for people of any age or fitness level.

The Lime app makes it simple to find, unlock and pick up a nearby e-bike. They will cost riders £1 to unlock and an additional 15 pence per minute of riding time.

1,000 Lime e-bikes will be located in Brent & Ealing initially by the end of the month.
The 15p per minute (£9 per hour) is more expensive than Oyster and it will be interesting to see whether the convenience  will win potential customers over. 

On social media there has been a general welcome although there have also been dark warnings that the app will track user's every movement.

On a practical level many local people will see the usefulness of the scheme  as limited by the lack of cycling infrastructure in the borough, in particular the north-south barrier at the North Circular in Neasden.

When the proposal for dockless bikes was made n January Brent Cyclists said:
Dockless hire bikes have been a success in some other cities in the world and so we think they would be a good experiment for Brent. It’s important to realise, though, that their effect on cycling take-up will only be marginal, as the perceived safety factors that are the reason most Brent people do not cycle will remain. The main things that would increase cycling in Brent, as always, are good cycle lanes and paths and low-traffic streets, which separate cyclists from heavy traffic for most of their journey.'
Contacted today they reiterated their statement and added:
The difference though with the e-assist element is that it may appeal to people who may not already cycle. Those people may then add their voice to the call for a  better and more inclusive infrastructure that would enable more to cycle, more regularly.

Download the app HERE


Anonymous said...

Saw 4 lime-e bikes in a pile outside Sudbury Hill Station today, Saturday 15th December. They were in a heap. What happens if anyone falls over them , who is responsible, can the Council be sued? Another bike was propped against a garden wall in Greenford this same day. The cost of using the bikes seems rather excessive when the Council is encoraging Greener transport. Also,cycling on Brent's appalling roads is pretty much a death wish.

Anonymous said...

alas will people in Brent respect the rules or will bikes just get trashed, not easy cycling in brent due to traffic and road widths etc

Anonymous said...

Have seen a number of bikes in my area just dumped on the pavement, not impressed as they are unsightly and most worryingly block the pavements. Also, did Brent actually consult its residents on whether we wanted to be a testing ground for these dockless bikes, because I don't remember seeing anything!