E-bike rental scheme trial

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


E-bike hire schemes bring an additional transport option to residents, as well as helping the council to meet its transport, public health, air quality and climate emergency objectives. Benefits include:

  • Removing the barrier of bicycle ownership
  • Removing the threat of bike theft, which can deter people from cycling
  • Improving connectivity between residential areas and key destinations
  • Supporting longer cycle trips by a wider demographic, through the electric assist function
  • Improving people’s travel choices
  • Providing an affordable travel option
  • Forming part of a public transport journey by connecting people to bus and train services
  • Helping to reduce congestion, air pollution and address climate change


Bay Locations

Answers to the below questions can be found on the ‘Bay location’ page.

  • Where will the e-bike bays be located and how has this been determined?
  • What will they look like?
  • Can I leave the bikes outside the borough?
  • What happens if a bike is parked outside of a bay? Who can I report it to?


Scheme Operations

How do I sign up to use an e-bike, how does it work and how much does it cost?

The Council is partnering with the operator Lime, selected e-bike operators who will be responsible for deploying bikes in the bays. 

To use the Lime e-bikes, please download the free mobile app available on the Apple store or Google Play store if you use an Android device. 
On a pay per usage basis, the e-bikes cost £1 to unlock and 23p per minute to use. Lime offers time-limited passes in-app for commuters and regular riders with a 60 minute pass from £4.99, a 120 minute pass for £9.99 and a 290 minute pass at £22.99, which can be used/split over multiple journeys spanning up to three days. The Lime Prime membership offers unlimited unlocking fees for £8.99 per month with a one month free trial period.
As part of the scheme, Lime will offer 50 per cent off the cost of e-bike rides for lower income residents via its Lime Access programme. The programme provides eligible riders - including concession pass holders, key workers, students and the unemployed - with unlimited discounts with Lime, helping them to get where they need to go in a safe, sustainable and affordable way. 

Sign up to Lime Access and read more information on eligibility.

How old do you have to be to ride an e-bike?

Users must be 18 years and over.

Will I be able to end my ride outside of the dedicated bays?

No, not within the London Borough of Hounslow. Each of the bikes is fitted with a GPS system and users will only be able to end their ride within a dedicated e-bike bay. The bays will be marked with the words ‘CYCLE HIRE ONLY’ on their outer edge. If users choose to abandon their ride outside of a bay, they will be fined by the operator. Repeat occurrences will result in the user being banned from the scheme. However, different boroughs and landowners may have slightly different approaches, so you will need to check the operator app to understand where you can leave a bike in each area.

Are there any areas of the borough where I cannot ride?

Yes, there are some areas of the borough where cycling is not permitted or is not advisable, such as certain parks and gardens. The bike’s GPS system will detect when a bike is entering these areas and the electric assist function will cut out, making the bike very heavy to pedal. Whilst not impossible to ride the bikes in these areas, this should act as a significant deterrent. For users wishing to access these areas, they should find a nearby bay to end their ride. There will also be some areas where the speed of the e-bike is limited. A map of planned no-go and go-slow areas is available on Lime's mobile app, and this will be kept under regular review.

How fast can the e-bikes go?

The speed of the electric assist function on rental e-bikes is limited to 15.5mph by national legislation. It should be noted that some operators have fitted speedometers to the e-bikes, some of which are displayed in km per hour (rather than miles per hour). 

Some areas of the borough have been set as go-slow zones, where the speed of the bikes will be limited to 8 mph. These are generally areas where although cycling is permitted, there are likely to be high volumes of pedestrians and particular caution is needed from e-bike scheme users.

Are e-bikes permitted to use shared or segregated cycle paths?

There are many areas across the borough where space is shared by cyclists and pedestrians, which will generally be signed accordingly and e-bikes are permitted to use. It is important that riders behave considerately where space is shared. Inconsiderate behaviour can reduce the appeal of these places and is particularly intimidating for people with reduced mobility, or who have hearing or vision difficulties. Where riding in shared spaces please:

  • Be courteous and patient with pedestrians and other path users
  • Slow down in areas where space is limited or pedestrians are present
  • Take extra care in places where you cannot see clearly ahead, such as junctions, bends or blind spots
  • Use the e-bike’s bell to make people aware of your presence but be aware that some people might not hear or see you if they are hard of hearing or visually impaired.

How will operators ensure there is a good availability of e-bikes across the borough?

There will be fluctuations in where the fleet is located at any point in time as scheme users hire the bikes and complete their journey. Lime will be keeping a close eye on the distribution of the e-bikes and will redistribute them as necessary to ensure there is good availability and also space to return the bikes. Minimum and maximum limits on the number of bikes permitted in each area of the borough will be agreed and regularly reviewed with operators.

How do the bikes get charged?

The e-bike batteries are monitored by the operator. When an e-bike battery is low on charge it will be taken out of service by Lime and it will swap the battery for one that is fully charged. These operations are undertaken in e-vans and e-cargo bikes.

Will the e-bikes result in more noise?

Compared to the sound of a car engine, the e-bikes should be relatively quiet. In-app messages will also be used by Lime to encourage riders to behave considerately if using the service during antisocial hours. Officers will be monitoring feedback on the scheme throughout the trial and working closely with Lime to address any concerns.

Any concerns regarding noise should be emailed to support in the first instance. This email address is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alternatively, you can call them on 0800 808 5223.

There are already Lime e-bikes operating in the borough. Why aren’t they required to use dedicated bays?

Local authorities do not currently have the power to prevent operators from deploying a free-floating fleet (ie e-bikes not parked in dedicated bays) in the borough. This will change under the new Transport Bill that is being developed by government, but this is not anticipated to be in place until around 2025. In the meantime, boroughs must decide how to better regulate operations, normally through the creation of dedicated bays which operators are then required to use through an agreement with the council. As the London Borough of Hounslow e-bike scheme is implemented (in the phases set out here), scheme userswill be required to use the bays alone.

How will users be prevented from cycling on the pavement?

It is an offence for cyclists to ride on the pavement, unless it has been classified as a cycle route (this may be shared with pedestrians, or segregated, and will normally be signed as such). The council has sought to locate any footway e-bike bays in close proximity to dropped kerbs, which help users safely access the carriageway to help discourage pavement cycling.

Enforcement against pavement cycling is predominantly a matter for the police. However, if you spot an e-bike user doing so, you can report the time and location of the incident to Lime who will use their GPS tracking system to investigate. This may result in the user being either fined or banned from the scheme. 

Full contact details of operators participating in the scheme will be published here in due course, once confirmed. In the meantime, for any Lime e-bikes, Lime’s contact details are: support@li.me and 0800 808 5223.

I have heard that the e-bikes can be hacked. What is being done to stop this?

We understand the concern caused by this type of antisocial behaviour/vandalism and operators are working on multiple fixes to prevent this behaviour. It should be noted that if hackers are successful, the electric assist function will not work which makes the bikes heavy to use, with limited appeal. Most hacked bikes can be identified by the loud clicking noise that they make.

Lime has employed a range of anti-tamper components. A Live-Alert feature also sends an alert and GPS reading to the operator if an e-bike is moving in a way it shouldn’t to provide an indicator that theft could be in progress. Some retrofits have already been implemented, which has reduced hacked ride numbers. Further mitigations are being rolled out to prevent different hack attempts and a full suite of preventative measures is expected to be in place very soon. 

Lime is also working with secondary schools, in partnership with the police, to warn them against this behaviour and remind pupils that vandalism of vehicles is a criminal offence. Social media accounts promoting the hack are also reported to local police who will the work with the relevant websites to get the videos removed. When resources allow, the police will also be undertaking targeted joint patrols with Lime to identify and take action against hackers.

If there is a particular location/time when you think the hacking may be taking place, please contact support@li.me or contact the police on 111 as appropriate.

Scheme Timetable

When will the works be taking place?

This section of the website will be regularly updated with the latest programme of works and launch plans. Every effort will be made to complete the works in accordance with the below programme although these works are reliant on dry weather and coned areas remaining clear of parked vehicles. If there is an opportunity to complete the works ahead of schedule the council’s highways contractor will endeavour to do so.

The bays will be introduced in phases, starting in the east of the borough, and working westwards. This is because the east of the borough is closest to existing e-bike operations in neighbouring boroughs and fills an important gap in coverage within west London. This gap will be filled, before expanding westwards across the whole borough. 

The works will include alterations to the existing road markings and, where necessary, removal of any existing parking bay signage. 

Phase 1

  • An initial phase of the scheme was launched on 5th June 2023 across the Brentford and Chiswick areas. 

Phase 2

  • Phase 2 of the scheme was launched on 10th July across the Hounslow, Isleworth and Osterley & Spring Grove wards. 

Phase 3

  • Works are currently scheduled to commence in August, with the scheme to launch in mid August, with the scheme to launch by early September.


Feedback and Scheme Evaluation

How can I raise issues with Lime or comment on the scheme?

Issues regarding abandoned bikes, the Lime app, suspected hacking attempts and other operational issues should be reported to support@li.me in the first instance, who will be best placed to respond. This email address is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The e-bike parking bays are being trialled as part of an Experimental Traffic Management Order (ETMO) for a minimum of six months and will then be assessed to determine their practicality before a decision is made to either remove them or make them permanent (with or without amendments). This will allow residents to see how the scheme works in practice, try it out and reach a fully informed view on the scheme before responding to the consultation.

Feedback during this initial six-month period is most welcome and comments can be submitted via email at traffic@hounslow.gov.uk or in writing to the address below. This feedback, coupled with additional data collected during the trial, will be used to guide the council on any future recommendations.

The Council will also be consulting on a draft Kerbside Strategy in summer/autumn 2023, which will also invite comments on the general principles of the scheme. 

E-bike Trial

Traffic, Transport and Parking
Environment, Culture and Customer Services
London Borough of Hounslow,
Hounslow House,
7 Bath Road,

How will you decide if the trial has been a success?

A range of data will be collected throughout the trial period and will be used to inform a decision on the scheme. This includes data from Lime on the number of trips made each month, the number of scheme users, key origins and destinations, collision data, numbers of scheme users receiving fines/bans. We will also be reviewing the feedback received from members, residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

For the trial to be considered a success, on balance these metrics will have demonstrated that the scheme has been a positive addition to the borough’s transport network. Any negative consequences will have been carefully managed or steps put in place to mitigate/reduce these as far as possible.

It is recognised that it may take time for any new scheme such as this, to bed in and this will also be taken into account. The proposed way forward will be reflected in the council’s final Kerbside Strategy, approval of which will be sought in early 2024. 

What would happen in the absence of dedicated bays for the e-bikes? 

Local authorities do not currently have the power to prevent operators from deploying a free-floating fleet (ie e-bikes not parked in dedicated bays) in the borough. This will change under the new Transport Bill that is being developed by government, but this is not anticipated to be in place until at least 2025. In the meantime, boroughs must decide how to better regulate operations, with an increasing number choosing to create dedicated bays which operators are then required to use through an agreement with the council. As the London Borough of Hounslow e-bike scheme is implemented (in the phases set out here), scheme users will be required to use the bays alone.

Where can I find copies of the decision reports for the scheme?

The Council’s Cabinet agreed to introduce an e-bike scheme to the borough on 18th April 2023. Read the Cabinet report

The above Cabinet report delegated authority to the Assistant Director Traffic, Transport & Parking to approve the locations for the e-bike bays as site selection work is completed. Decision reports for each area can be found here:

Ward Report Location Plans
Bedfont Link Link
Brentford East Link Link
Brentford West Link Link
Chiswick Gunnersbury Link Link
Chiswick Homefields Link Link
Chiswick Riverside Link Link
Cranford Link Link
Syon & Brentford Lock Link Link Link 2
Feltham North Link Link
Feltham West Link Link
Hanworth Park West Link Link
Hanworth Park Link Link
Hanworth Village Link Link
Heston Central Link Link
Heston East Link Link
Heston West Link Link
Hounslow Central Link Link
Hounslow East Link Link
Hounslow Heath Link Link
Hounslow South Link Link
Hounslow West Link Link
Isleworth Link Link
Osterley and Spring Grove Link Link
Additional Phase 3 locations Link Link
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