London-wide byelaw explored to regulate dockless bike hire

London-wide byelaw to manage dockless bike share schemes is being explored by  London Councils and Transport for London.  The plan was presented to London Councils’ transport and environment committee (TEC) last week. Owain Mortimer, London Council’s principal policy officer, said: “TfL and London Councils are exploring the feasibility of putting formal mechanisms in place for the regulation of dockless bicycle operators, restricting their operation other than by consent, and imposing certain operating requirements.”

Dockless bike share schemes have been introduced across much of the capital in recent months. Mortimer said the schemes promoted active travel but said concerns about the schemes had also been raised, including street clutter; bikes being abandoned on private property; and the quality and safety of the bicycles. TfL has published a code of practice for schemes and some boroughs have struck memoranda of understanding with operators. But Mortimer said: “Experience to date has demonstrated that these measures are not adequate to address the concerns. In addition, as existing dockless bicycle sharing schemes expand and more are launched, there is a need for operations to be more co-ordinated and regulated than is presently the case.

Although boroughs could introduce their own byelaws, this would lead to a fragmented approach being taken across the capital, said Mortimer. The alternative is for boroughs to delegate their ability to make byelaws for  dockless bike schemes to London Councils’ TEC.

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