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Residents in Ealing call for action over ebikes left dangerously blocking pavements in the borough

There are calls by Ealing residents for action to be taken against ebike users and the companies who supply them. It comes after locals say the ebikes are being left on pavements and causing danger to pedestrians and those with limited mobility by blocking access.

Since the introduction of ebikes in Ealing, their use and popularity has increased but residents feel they are not being managed properly by the suppliers Dott, Lime and TIER, as bikes are being left by their customers in dangerous places with very little evidence that action is taken to stop it.

When Lime launched in Ealing in December 2018, the then leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Julian Bell said of Lime ebikes: “A greater range of convenient, zero-emission, transport options like ebikes are a vital part of our strategy for reducing emissions, improving air quality and protecting the environment.”

But for those in wheelchairs, the elderly and parents pushing children in buggies they say they are not being protected from the ebikes and not enough is being done in the borough to make the pavements safe for pedestrians.

Dan, a wheelchair user in Greenford told EALING.NEWS: “It’s bad enough having to negotiate the poor pavements in Greenford but these bikes add further to the problem by being left in the middle of a pavement. How am I supposed to navigate without going dangerously around it? Something needs to be done about this for all wheelchair users and anyone using the pavement.”

Local politicians have also raised their concerns.  Leader of Ealing Liberal Democrats, Councillor Gary Malcolm told EALINg.NEWS: “The Liberal Democrats want to see people using these bikes but clearly the Council and the operators need to do more. Often dumped bikes are left in the same location for a long time and so residents who might have their pavements blocked need a better guarantee from the Council and the bike operators that they will be removed quicker.”

Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party is calling on Ealing Council to implement on-street parking bays for ebikes. He told EALING.NEWS: “Pavements are first and foremost for pedestrians. The council should ensure that obstructions, mostly illegally parked cars, but also ebikes, are cleared. Providing on-street parking bays for these bikes would really help.”

According to the three providers, Dott, Lime and TIER, they expect their customers to leave the bikes either docked or in safe areas and to provide proof they have done so to the providers. But photos shown to EALING.NEWS show bikes for Dott and Lime being left dangerously and blocking pavements.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Hal Stevenson, senior public affairs manager at Lime said: “Lime understands the importance of not obstructing pavements and other shared spaces – it is vital that our service works for everyone sharing our streets. We have a number of ways to help ensure riders park safely and responsibly at the end of their journey.

“Riders are required to take an ‘end-trip photo’ of how they park – these photos are reviewed, with users warned and fined for mis-parking. Fines start at £2 for the first offence, and escalate to £20 for the fifth offence under our progressive discipline policy. After this point, the rider will be permanently banned from our service. We also have an on-street team to help make sure vehicles are well-maintained and not obstructing pavements. Reports of obstructive parking should be sent to, and our Lime foot patrollers will commit to moving any obstructive vehicles within a short time-frame.”

Jess Hall, head of public policy, UK, TIER told EALING.NEWS: “We take poor parking by our users extremely seriously. Users are reminded to park considerately before each ride and must take a photograph at the end of their ride to prove they have parked well. Users who repeatedly park poorly can face fines or being banned from using our service.

“Members of the public can report poor parking in multiple ways. Our bikes feature a QR code in the basket which opens a chat window with our customer care team. They can tweet our on-street team at @TIERUK_StPatrol or they can message our customer care team in the Help and Safety section of the app or website.”

A spokesperson for DOTT told EALING.NEWS: “We operate in Ealing under an agreement with the council. Parking of our e-bikes is only permitted in allocated parking spots, which are shown on our app and agreed with Ealing council. Vehicles cannot be parked outside of those spots, and any that are abandoned would incur a fine. If any vehicles are incorrectly parked, we have teams available to correct this, and would encourage local residents to report this to”

Bhavisha from Hanwell told EALING.NEWS that on many occasions when she takes her elderly mother out, they are constantly worried by the bikes on the pavements and even on the kerb by the road.  She said:  “How am I supposed to get my mother in or out of the car if someone parks the bike by the side of the curb.  People are so inconsiderate that it’s become the norm now.  What are the bike companies and Ealing Council doing about it as it just seems to be getting worse.”

In March this year, Wandsworth Council started to impound Lime ebikes that have been left dangerously on pavements.

Council leader Simon Hogg said: “Wandsworth Council will continue to take firm action on Lime Bikes that are parked inconsiderately. The number of bikes seized last week shows how serious a problem this is. We receive daily complaints about Lime Bikes blocking pavements, and when I raised this with the company last year they said they would be taking steps to solve this problem.

“Unfortunately the actions they have taken have not ensured sustained improvements in the situation and removing Lime Bikes obstructing pavements continues to be necessary.”

Westminster Council has been clamping down on ebikes being left dangerously and now the council is set to get tougher by ensuring bikes can only be left in designated parking pays.  Paul Dimoldenberg, Westminster’s cabinet member for city management told the Evening Standard: “We don’t want any more clutter on the pavements. What we will also be asking the e-bike companies to do is have their staff go around to ensure their bikes are within the bays and not in the roadway creating a hazard for cars and pedestrians.”

Some residents told EALING.NEWS they would like Ealing Council to take strong action that other councils have taken including Wandsworth and Westminster.

James from Acton said: “If other councils are being pro-active in making sure ebikes in their borough are not blocking pavements and if they take action against suppliers who allow their users to abuse the pavements, what is Ealing doing?  This has been an issue for a number of years and it seems to be getting worse.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “There are very few national laws that regulate how dockless cycle hire companies operate. However, Ealing Council has proactively negotiated agreements with Dott, Lime and TIER, who run e-bike services in the borough. The Council has non-contractual agreements in place with these operators that mean that bicycles must be parked in agreed parking locations which are identified by a ‘P’ symbol in the operators’ mobile apps. These locations have been selected by council officers as areas where there is sufficient space for bicycles to be parked without causing an obstruction.”

The spokesperson added: “As part of their agreement with the council, operators must move any bicycle that is parked outside the agreed locations within two hours from receipt of notification if the bicycle is causing danger or obstruction, or within 12 hours from receipt of notification if the bicycle is not causing danger or obstruction. The Council is currently reviewing parking principles and provision for ebikes and escooters in order to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians, as well convenience for those wishing to start or end a ride.”

“Ealing residents can report bicycles that are causing an obstruction directly to the operators using the details provided on Ealing Council’s website: Dockless bike hire | Dockless bike hire | Ealing Council”

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