Merton Council is keen to promote active travel among residents – cycling or walking to work or school reduces emissions, improves overall health, and saves money.
However, increased use of e-bikes within the borough has had negative side-effects too. Residents have become increasingly concerned about e-bikes littering the streets and preventing people, particularly those with mobility impairments, from being able to use pavements and roads safely.
Understanding the issues bad parking of Lime e-bikes cause for Merton residents, Leader Ross Garrod wrote to Lime to raise these concerns. After a constructive meeting with Lime, also attended by Cabinet Member for Transport Stephen Alambritis, Lime has agreed an action plan to tackle rogue bikes in Merton.
Lime is taking action to:
- Launch parking wardens in Merton to tackle this issue
- Require users to take photos of where they have parked
- Expand rider education, alongside enforcement of fines and bans for those who mis-park
- Introduce GPS-based ‘no parking zones’ which prevent bikes being locked in anti-social locations
- Signpost riders to park in cycle stands
Lime has also increased its operations team by 50%, meaning a big increase in on-street patrols.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Ross Garrod, Leader of Merton Council, said, “My ambition for Merton residents is that they are proud of Merton, and that they can actively take part in all it has to offer.
“However, anti-socially parked Lime bikes have been an increasing source of frustration for residents, making them annoyed rather than proud to walk around the Borough, so I called for a meeting with Lime to find solutions to the issue.
“E-bikes are a great innovation, offering a healthier and cheaper alternative to other forms of transport, so I’m pleased we had such a constructive discussion with Lime and that they have agreed to introduce Parking Wardens to the borough and sign post users to park in cycle stands amongst a number of other measures.”
Cabinet Member for Transport Councillor Stephen Alambritis added, “Making Merton a more active and sustainable Borough is one of this Cabinet’s key ambitions. New stepped cycle paths, more EV charging points and encouraging active travel to work and school, sometimes using e-bikes, are all part of our vision.
“However, where residents are negatively impacted we must take action, which is why I am pleased Lime were keen to meet with us and take residents’ concerns seriously.
“Helping Merton become a healthier and more sustainable Borough is not something the Council can do alone. I am pleased Lime are keen to take responsibility for the actions of some of their users, and look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure e-bikes are a positive for everyone in Merton.”
Hal Stevenson, Senior Public Affairs Manager at Lime, UKI said: “Since launching in London five years ago, we have seen incredible use of our e-bikes across the capital, including recently in Merton, with more and more residents and visitors of the borough taking up shared, active and sustainable transport options.
We are working closely with the Council to manage this growing demand and ensure that our service works for everyone in Merton. We have introduced a number of policies to improve parking behaviour locally, including end trip photo reviews, requiring users to take a photo of where they parked, an escalating series of warnings, fines and bans for misparkers, and GPS-based no parking zones in sensitive areas. We have also increased our out of warehouse team by 50% across London, allowing us to respond even faster to reports of misparked vehicles.
We are committed to continue working with Merton Council to further improve user parking in the borough through these policies, and towards a long term solution to support even more residents and visitors of Merton to travel sustainably.”
Residents can get in touch with Lime to report obstructive bikes, or any other concerns by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 0800 808 5223, or by selecting ‘Help’ in the Lime App – and now give an exact location using what3words.