On Thursday morning, approximately 400 yellow bikes appeared on the streets of Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Fulham.
These were the property of oBike – a new cycle rental firm (based in Singapore) operating a 'dockless' system for hire across London.
We're really positive about cycling in H&F, and our cycling strategy sets out ways we plan to make the roads safer, and improve facilities for cyclists. But these bikes appeared without any consultation at all with H&F Council. Plus we have concerns about the way they had been placed on the streets, and protecting the health and safety of people in the borough.
Most had been left at right angles to the kerb, partially obstructing the footpath, and creating a potential hazard for pedestrians – particularly the disabled.
“We're very much in favour of cycling,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
“But we expect companies to properly consult with us first. This launch could have been much better thought out.”
After we raised our concerns, oBike agreed today (Friday) to remove the bikes they have deposited in the borough.
The company has also agreed to meet with the council to discuss ways to make their cycle scheme work without negatively affecting pedestrians.
It has been reported that oBike plans to place 6,000 of its bikes on the streets of London, and that a number of other companies have similar launches planned for later in the year.