E-bike scourge of London: Pressure grows on Sadiq Khan to ban the two-wheeled gadgets that are hijacked by yobs and litter pavements and streets
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of ‘losing control’ of the city’s electric vehicle situation with discarded rental e-bikes and scooters now a common sight across the capital making the city a ‘minefield’ for the blind.
The bikes which have also been terrifyingly hacked by yobs in the past are currently operated by companies who are not directly regulated by the city – meaning they have proliferated at an alarming rate across London.
This week, the father of a toddler who lost his finger after getting it caught in the chain of a rental electric bike also called on Sadiq Khan to do more to regulate the ‘menace’ of bicycles scattered on the pavements of the capital.
The youngster’s father Ignacio, 33, has urged the Mayor of London to act on regulating the ‘careless’ firms behind the bikes so their vehicles pose less of a danger to young children and the wider public.
His calls have been echoed by National Federation of the Blind of the UK Sarah Gayton who has said the current regulations – which allow e-bike users to deposit their vehicles at random – are not inclusive to all pavement users.
Discarded rental e-bikes and scooters now a common sight across the capital making the city a ‘minefield’ for the blind
Safety campaigner Sarah Gayton has called for e-bikes to be regulated and taken off the streets
Speaking to MailOnline, Sarah explained: ‘They are simply not safe they way they are being allowed to be dumped on pavement and public spaces in London.
‘The Mayor has completely lost control of the safety and accessibility the pavement space which is a public resource that everyone needs to use as a pedestrian to get where they need to go when they get off the bus, out of a black cab, out of a car or when they stop riding their bike.
READ MORE: One-year-old boy loses his right index finger after it got trapped in the chain of an abandoned Tier e-bike – as his father calls for tougher rules on where rentals can be dumped
‘If should be one of the most basic things The Mayor should be able to sort out with the London Boroughs.
‘The bikes need to be removed immediately and only return when there are lockable docking stations are installed off the pavement.
‘The Mayor talks about healthy streets but they are far from it, the pavements are littered with dockless bikes creating trip hazards and obstructions.
‘The lack of urgency from the Major in trying to resolve the problem is extremely worrying.
‘He needs to urgently act of this problem and stop the companies operating the dockless model.’
Currently, the Mayor’s office does not have the power to regulate rental bikes and says it is pushing the Government to give it more controls to improve safety.
Tier is among a number of companies permitted to operate ‘dockless’ e-bikes in the city, alongside firms such as Forest and Lime, which is part-owned by ridesharing business Uber.
Currently, the Mayor’s office does not have the power to regulate rental bikes
A number of companies are permitted to operate ‘dockless’ e-bikes in the city
The abandoned bicycles are tip hazards and barriers for the visually impaired
Unlike London’s fleet of Santander Cycles (so-called ‘Boris bikes’) and bicycle hire schemes in other cities like Manchester and Glasgow, the bikes do not have to be parked at a dedicated docking station to end the rental.
READ MORE: Why do e-scooters and e-bikes keep EXPLODING? Experts lift lid on the dangers – as London firefighters tackle two blazes a week sparked by gadgets
Instead, users lock and unlock the bike using an app on their phone – meaning they can be ditched just about anywhere.
However, pictures taken from across London by MailOnline show the sheer scale of the blight on communities the e-bike revolution is causing.
And just one stray bike can do a lot of damage as Ignacio and his family found out.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Ignacio said his son Leopoldo had been allowed out of his pram for a matter of moments in August when he accidentally put pressure on the pushbike’s pedal, crushing his finger in the belt and almost completely severing it.
His terrified mother, who had been taking the youngster and his sister to meet their father after work, rushed him to hospital to have the finger reattached.
Doctors concluded after a number of checkups that the finger could not be saved and had the majority of it amputated.
Ignacio – who did not give his second name – believes that if the bicycles were required to be parked in designated spaces, his son would never have lost his finger.
He said: ‘We have contacted the Mayor of London and informed him of the awful event and we hope he tackles the current situation of these bikes on the pavements, which are causing a menace to Londoners.
‘We want action, so nobody goes through what we have had to.’
Some authorities have taken action on the dumped e-bikes by simply removing them from the streets
TfL has said it will continue lobbying the government to bring in laws allowing for rental e-bikes to be regulated
Some authorities have already vowed to take action. They include Westminster Council – where Ignacio’s son lost his finger – which says it has struck a deal with Tier and other operators to invest in parking bays for their bicycles around Central London.
It said earlier this year that it would draw up plans to fine inconsiderate users of the pushbikes £20 if they fail to park it in designated areas – and continue charging them for the rental until they rectify the issue.
Known as ‘geofencing’, this would bring rental e-bikes into line with e-scooters, which require their users to park them in designated areas in order to end the rental.
Other authorities have taken action on the dumped e-bikes by simply removing them from the streets – only for the e-bike company to take them back.
Hammersmith and Fulham borough council got so tired of getting complaints about dumped bicycles that it impounded 100 of them in August.
But Lime workers went into the lot without permission and took back 70 of their own bikes, the Standard reports. Lime said the employees responsible had been sacked.
Tier says it ‘prides itself on providing a valuable service in a safe and responsible way’, adding that Ignacio’s case was in the hands of insurers. It said it had never received a report of a similar ‘trapping’ event before now.
It added: ‘The case remains subject to an ongoing process with our insurer, who are working with us to resolve the situation quickly and fairly. In the meantime, we wish the family strength as they await the outcome.’
TfL said that it was working with boroughs to look at setting up a single, city-wide scheme to manage dockless bikes and scooters in the absence of legislation.
However, it says it will continue lobbying the government to bring in laws allowing for rental e-bikes to be regulated.
The Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: ‘Dockless rental e-bikes are extremely popular and a great way to get around London.
‘However, cities currently lack the power to regulate rental e-bikes.
‘We need urgent legislation from the Government to give cities the powers to properly manage dockless e-bikes to improve safety, ensure parking is better controlled and to provide a better user experience to customers.’
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