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Wandsworth Council confiscates and impounds dockless oBikes

Local Council removes 130 oBikes from streets of Wandsworth due to 'cluttering' and 'obstructions'

Joe Robinson
10 Aug 2017

If you live in the London Borough of Wandsworth and are wondering where the dockless oBikes have all gone then look no further than a spare room in a council building. 

Wandsworth Council posted a picture of the yellow hire bikes piled up in a room, directly tweeting oBike. This action was taken after the Council said it had received a 'flood of complaints'. 

After impounding 130 bikes, the Council took to its social media page to inform oBike, in what can only be described as an abrupt tweet.

In a statement on the council website, transport representative Councillor Jonathan Cook cited the lack of prior warning as rationale. 

'We all want to encourage cycling and other sustainable forms of transport but it is rather naïve to simply dump thousands of bicycles on London’s streets without any warning or discussion beforehand,' Cook said. 

'We are happy to support an initiative that gets more people using bikes, but without a drastic re-think, and proper consultation with all the capital’s highway authorities this particular scheme, as it stands, is not the answer.'

We have approached Wandsworth Council and Councillor Cook for a comment, and are awaiting a response.

The decision made by Wandsworth does pose more questions than it answers. With cycling proving an ever-growing form of transport in London, it seems naive of Wandsworth to make this knee-jerk reaction with what appears to be no communication with oBike.

Whilst the lack of prior warning from oBike about the introduction of the dockless hire scheme could be criticised, surely a solution that kept these bikes on the streets whilst also addressing the issue of obstruction would have been a better outcome.

Ironically, Wandsworth Council also hosts a similar exercise to oBike but with cars. Using 'zipzone', customers can use a car-sharing system in which they can 'pick up and drop off hire cars on virtually any borough street.'

Since the social media post last Friday, Wandsworth Council has experienced relative backlash at the nature of its tweet and the action itself.

This has also led to local residents posting photos of illegally parked cars, with a request they be removed in the same way as the oBikes.

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