|Outside the Civic Centre|
|Outside Kensal Green station (Photo Kensal RA)|
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 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.
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.
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