CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

People ‘in tears’ over hire bikes blocking pavements

New by-law planned to control bicycle parking

24 January, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Roger Robinson at Monday’s meeting

A FORMER mayor says people have come to him in tears over the careless parking of hire bikes, telling the Town Hall that people are “unable to get out of their front doors”.

As the New Journal revealed last week, Camden is drafting a new by-law in an attempt to control where the dockless bikes are left.

Labour councillor Roger Robinson told Monday’s full council meeting: “We do not want these bicycles – whatever they are – out anywhere cluttering the pavements as they’ve done before in the past. We as a council must make crystal clear to the powers that be that we want proper government of this.”

While the council has been enthusiastic about how hire bikes get more people out on two wheels, it has faced complaints that users are not being considerate about where they are leaving them after their rides.

Unlike Transport for London’s rental bikes, subscribers to Lime bikes or Uber’s Jump bikes can leave them on the pavement which in some cases have blocked the way for pedestrians, the elderly and the disabled.

Both have been allowed to operate in Camden under a 12-month trial finishing in August.

The new by-law could restrict parking of the bikes to certain areas, while companies running the rentals could face fines of up to £500, the maximum penalty that would be open to a magistrate.

Cllr Robinson, who is the longest-serving councillor in the chamber and Camden’s disabilities champion, told the meeting: “Disabled people have come to me crying and fed up, up to their eyes, with the way they cannot go through the streets.”

He added: “They can’t get out of their front doors. We don’t want them to come along and cause problems for disabled people, people in wheelchairs or anybody else for that matter.”

Frustration with the free-for-all parking in Camden Town saw rebel artists collect up some of the bikes and fix them into “sculptures”.

Camden’s environment chief Labour councillor Adam Harrison has previously suggested that passers-by could help by moving any bikes they see badly parked. But he also pledged to work on the by-law in a bid to reduce the number of poorly-parked bikes.

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