Lime bike blocking path

Lime bikes abandoned all over Hackney despite regulation efforts

Lime bikes are being abandoned outside of their designated parking areas despite efforts from Lime and Hackney Council to control their use.

The electric hire bikes were introduced in February 2022, when the council signed a two year deal with Lime.

The deal was conditional on Lime restricting parking to designated parking bays, and limiting the speed of bikes in parks for safety reasons.

Last month, a system update restricted speed to 11mph in Hackney parks, and reminded users not to park in these areas.

However, parking restrictions cannot apply to bikes which are being stolen and ridden without power, and fines and reminders from Lime do not seem to be deterring inappropriate parking. 

Abandoned bikes remain so common that one resident has created the Twitter account Hire Bikes of Hackney to document them. 

He said: “I see them pretty much every time I go out, either dumped or fallen over.

“Clearly the system isn’t working. Lime bikes are great, but they’re just left all over the place in a complete mess, often blocking footpaths. 

“Go to Hackney Marshes on any Saturday and there will be three or four of them, because everyone goes there to play football and some people just leave the bikes.” 

The recent system update came after almost a year of lobbying by the London Fields User Group, who were approached by Lime after highlighting the number of bikes abandoned in parks on social media. 

Kevin Flemen, the group’s chair, said: “We’re pleased to see it, it’s just a shame it’s taken so long and so much effort to do.” 

He added that there is still work to be done on increasing bike security, as he often hears clicking bikes which he believes to be stolen, and sanctioning parking outside of designated parking bays. 

A statement from Hackney Council said: “The council and Lime are aware of a limited number of instances of unlocked bikes being ridden without power and have identified a hardware solution to prevent it.” 

A Lime spokesperson added: “At Lime, we have numerous safety measures in place including on board vehicle sensors that alert us when damage is incurred, with the affected vehicle collected within 24 hours.

“We also have extensive measures in place to prevent our bikes from being tampered with, including wheel locks and tamper alarms.” 

Emphasising the benefits of cycling for health, traffic flow and the environment, the council is working on better systems to ensure parking compliance, and increasing the number of designated parking bays around the borough. 

Westminster Council has taken a different approach, threatening to remove obstructive bikes from the streets, at Lime’s expense.

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