TfL must ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to support the roll-out of dockless hire bikes, says the charity Living Streets. London's first dockless bike, the oBike, was launched in Tower Hamlets on Wednesday and is due to be rolled out across the capital by next month.
Unlike Santander hire bikes, which ned to be returned to docking stations, oBikes can be left anywhere. A GPS system allows them to be unlocked with mobile phones.
Dockless bikes have proved very popular in countries where oBikes already exist and has encouraged people to cycle more, according to Living Streets.
Some road space, such as car parking bays, should be reallocated to bike parking to ensure streets are safe and clutter free, the charity says.
In cases where infrastructure has been lacking, problems have arisen, with bikes left piled up on streets, causing obstacles for pedestrians and causing some city governments to ban bike share from some streets, says Living Streets. “Pavement clutter is inconvenient for everyone trying to use our streets but is particularly problematic for people with wheelchairs, buggies or those living with sight loss,” says Steve Chambers, Policy and Research Coordinator, Living Streets.
“More people cycling has fantastic benefits for our health and environment, and these schemes could help the Mayor realise his ambition in his Transport Strategy to achieve 80% of journeys on sustainable transport.
“However, pavements are for people and bikes should not be left to block the footpath. It is up to TfL and the boroughs to provide adequate bike parking. Traditionally bike parking takes space from pedestrians, but in city centres the pavements are full and it’s time some car parking made way for cycles too.”
oBike has plans to launch the dockless hire scheme in cities across the UK. Manchester and Cambridge are also piloting similar dockless schemes and Living Streets says it will call for their relevant authorities to consider pedestrians in their planning as the schemes roll-out.
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