Dockless electric bike sharing launched in London

The freebike scheme lets you reserve your bike whilst otherwise engaged and geofencing slashes the likelihood of vandalism

A dockless electric bike sharing system is arriving in London this June.

The company ‘freebike’ was selected by the City of London Corporation to bring its electric bikes to the Square Mile, with the scheme launching on June 12.

Users can unlock the bikes by swiping a contactless card – and they can ride in pedal only or electric assist mode.

The first 10 minutes in the pedal mode is free, then it’s 1p per minute or £1 for every 10 minutes in electric assist mode.

freebike will donate 2p for every mile ridden to the Lord Mayor’s appeal, which distributes money to charities benefiting London’s residents.

Rental can be paused, whilst the user is in a meeting, shopping or otherwise not riding – and in this case the bike is reserved for their return, without costing anything in the interim.

The motor also works as an advanced locking system, and ‘geofencing’ means that unlike other hire schemes – where bikes are sometimes taken outside of the reasonable boundary – these bikes can’t be stolen and the likelihood of vandalism is slashed.

Whilst the system is dockless, the bikes have designated parking areas – and GPS tracking means that they can be detected and moved by the service provider if found out of place.

As well as the motor, the bikes come with regenerative braking, and stopping comes from disc brakes. Bike lights are fitted, too.

IHS Markit have a private freebike scheme at their London HQ, and employees have been using the bikes to get to meetings for the last eight months.

CEO Lance Uggla commented:  “They’re reliable, fun to use, save us a lot of time, but best of all they reduce our impact on the environment.”

Co-founder of freebike, Katharine Butler said: “The electric freebike brings radical innovation in technology and approach and offers the public a fun, green, fast and healthy transport option around the City. We are passionate about getting more people cycling and out of their cars – electric bikes are a joy to ride.’’

Alastair Moss, Planning and Transportation Committee Chair at the City of London Corporation, added: “This trial follows the launch of the City Corporation’s first Transport Strategy, in which we have placed a renewed focus on prioritising the needs of cyclists and improving the quality, convenience and accessibility of cycle hire facilities for City visitors, workers and residents to enjoy.”