Reconsider the introduction of the hire bikes in Camden
08 November, 2018
• ANYBODY who has spent time in Camden recently will have noticed an array of yellow or grey bikes on our streets, particularly in Camden Town and Bloomsbury.
These are dockless hire bikes, which are similar to Santander bikes but without an allocated docking station to find and park them.
These bikes are operated via an app that allows users to find the closest available bike on their phone using GPS and unlock it with a code.
As air pollution in the borough is at a dangerous level we should be encouraging residents to ditch their cars and opt for cycling instead.
However Camden Council’s initiative of welcoming one of these dockless bike companies (Ofo) into the borough back in June has had dire consequences.
Due to their dockless nature, these bikes are frequently abandoned on street corners or blocking pavements, causing problems for residents who are visually impaired, wheelchair users, or pushing a pram.
Dumped Ofo bikes are a frequent sight in Camden Town and Bloomsbury, which is ironic considering that the latter is the ward of the cabinet member for the environment, who welcomed Ofo into the borough in June.
I have also heard reports that these bikes have been found abandoned in South End Green and Kilburn, and I wonder how many have been dumped in Regent’s Canal. If these weren’t private hire bikes it would be considered fly-tipping.
A similar company to Ofo, Mobike, recently pulled out of Manchester due to thefts and vandalism. Bikes were stolen and found chained up in gardens as, in the short term, they are a cheaper option than buying a bike.
There is a chance that Camden may also be spared; according to an Ofo spokesman their stay in the borough is only a 12-month trial and there is a possibility that they will have to withdraw if things go badly.
Surely the state of our streets is evidence that the trial is not going well? For the sake of our streets the council, and particularly Cllr Adam Harrison, should really reconsider their position on this matter.
Dumped rubbish is already piling up on the streets of Camden, let’s not make it worse?