At our Access Champions meeting in January 2023, a small group of Merton CIL members discussed the introduction of dockless Lime hire bikes across Merton.
We recognised that badly-parked dockless hire bikes were potential obstructions to Disabled people who have physical impairments and/or use mobility aids. However, we also felt that when introduced dockless hire bikes were no more of a problem than cars illegally parked on pavements, wheelie and recycling bins obstructing pavements on waste collection days, fly-tips obstructing pavements, and some street furniture in the borough’s various town centres.
We have also reflected on the fact that not all our members have physical impairments, and that those with mental impairments or issues around wellbeing may benefit from the opportunity to use a new mode of active travel to access the community.
Merton CIL also recognises the environmental benefits of dockless bikes. We are keen to push for ways to ensure that our community is inclusive to Deaf and Disabled people, whilst being sustainable.
We have engaged with Merton Active Travel on the issue, sharing our views and, in particular, emphasising the importance of the Council communicating to residents where to leave dockless hire bikes and how to report a bike obstructing access. We created a joint statement with Merton Active Travel (read here - MAT Merton CIL statement) - which emphasises that such communication needs to be straightforward in order to ensure that Merton remains accessible to all.
Over the past few weeks, Human Forest hire bikes have also been introduced in Merton.
We are keen to hear your views on dockless hire bikes now that there are two providers in the borough, and we have seen an increase in dockless bikes in our community.
Please share your thoughts on the following:
- Have dockless hire bikes helped you in any way e.g. to access the community?
- Have dockless hire bikes hindered you in any way e.g. blocking pathways?
- Do you have any other comments?
You can also share your thoughts with us on social media!
This topic will also be discussed at our next Access Champions meeting. Find out more about becoming an Access Champion here.
We will continue to share Disabled people’s views on dockless hire bikes across Merton as the rollout continues.