Share transportation company Lime have distributed more than 800 electric bicycles around Sydney streets this week.
This comes a few weeks after Bicycle Network reported on Lime’s promotion of their electric scooter share scheme, and seems to be being met by similar opposition.
Residents have expressed their concerns that the council has not enforced ‘safety rules’ or advice on how these bike share systems should operate.
The council has responded to criticism emphasizing that their release was not part of a council initiative.
As it currently stands, share bike companies do not require council approval to operate in a local government area under NSW law, but companies can be fined and bikes impounded if there are safety or nuisance concerns.
Undeterred by the failure of similar share bike companies, Lime Community Affairs Manager William Peters said that “coming in to the market after previous operators, we really want to educate the public on how to participate in the share economy," and previously said on ABC Radio that they are keen to work closely with local councils to help bring positive impact to their communities.
The difference with Lime is that their bikes are electric, making them heavier (more difficult to dump inappropriately) and the bikes are collected by staff every 24 to 48 hours to recharge the batteries.
They are also more expensive, causing one user to state “they were fun to ride, but not really worth the price. It’s more of a gimmick than a viable way of transport.”
Watch this space
There is no doubt about the benefits to city congestion and general health associated with giving more people access to active and sustainable transport.
However, there seems to be a troublesome disconnect between major Australian cities and bike sharing systems, where other cities around the world are reaping the benefits.
Bicycle Network has been supportive of share bikes in Australian cities and are keen to see cooperation between share bike companies and local councils. We will keenly monitor the introduction of Lime and any similar systems that support integrated transport systems.