Westminster City Council has outlined its intentions to enforce new regulations on dockless e-bikes in order to prevent them from being abandoned on sidewalks.
The borough, which is governed by the Labour Party, plans to establish 220 designated parking bays for the bikes in response to concerns raised by locals about their impact on individuals with disabilities. Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, the cabinet member responsible for city management and air quality, has made the decision to create additional parking bays in Fitzrovia West.
As Westminster Council announces the parking bays, it’s also informing residents living near the proposed parking areas of the forthcoming changes. Residents been given the opportunity to offer feedback on any specific concerns they may have regarding the locations.
How the Parking Bays Will Be Developed
The largest parking area in the borough is planned to be situated approximately halfway between Marble Arch and Bond Street Tube stations. Furthermore, substantial parking spaces are also proposed at the southern end of Kingsway and near Oxford Circus.
The council has confirmed that this new arrangement, resulting from extensive discussions with e-bike companies Lime, TIER, and Forest, will be implemented on a trial basis for a period of 18 months.
The establishment of the parking bays will occur in two phases. The first bays will open in the West End, Covent Garden, and Marylebone within the next few weeks.
To create the bays, the council will repurpose a combination of underutilized residential parking spaces, pay-to-park bays, yellow lines, and cycle stands with low usage. It will also create new spaces on the broad sidewalks based on appropriateness.
To avoid fines or potential bans from using the bikes, riders who intend to conclude their journeys within the borough will be required to use the designated parking areas.
Dimoldenberg acknowledged that cycling is a fantastic mode of transportation within Westminster. However, the current system of dockless bikes often poses a clear safety risk to pedestrians.
The objective of the forthcoming pilot project is to ensure that the borough’s streets remain unobstructed and accessible for everyone, according to Dimoldenberg.
It’s estimated that at any given time, there are approximately 3,000 hire bikes within Westminster.
Stopping Improper E-Bike Parking
Since August 2022, the council has been impounding abandoned bikes considered to be an immediate threat to public safety, in accordance with the Highways Act 1980.
However, Westminster Council has stated that the majority of incidents related to improper parking are handled by the bike companies themselves. The companies employ teams throughout London to relocate bikes that have caused obstructions.
According to Fitzrovia News, certain areas in the West End implemented no-parking zones earlier this year using geo-fencing. This technology disabled the ability to end a bike journey in these specific borough areas. Now, this restriction will be extended to cover the entire borough, except for designated parking locations.
Lime’s director of policy for the UK and Ireland, Hal Stevenson, expressed pride in collaborating with Westminster Council to establish their e-bike service within the borough. Lime provided funding and detailed usage data to assist in designing this network of parking locations.
Stevenson expressed confidence that the initiative will improve parking and minimize pavement obstructions, particularly for individuals with accessibility needs.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, previously supported the e-bike parking network. He acknowledged the popularity of e-bikes but emphasized the “challenge” posed by improper parking.
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