For sheer efficiency, simplicity and the freedom it provides, the humble bicycle may be humankind’s greatest invention. More recently, the electric bike has enabled thousands of people to step out of their cars, or off the bus at rush hour, to get around the city. But, like everything, it comes with trade-offs.
Walking in parts of central London all too often requires total concentration and reserves of flexibility to slide past the thousands of rented e-bikes, strewn upright or dumped on their sides along miles of pavements. Annoying for pedestrians, actively dangerous for people with disabilities and those with buggies.
This is another example of where the technology has accelerated far beyond the regulation, and it cannot go on. Providers such as Lime, which reportedly has more than 12,000 bikes in London, must get their house in order. That means working with local authorities which want e-bikes and e-scooters to be parked in designated bays. The Wild West era of dockless e-bike users leaving their bikes anywhere must come to an end.
A city of bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters is one that is cleaner, healthier and easier to get around. But it must benefit all Londoners.