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Lime powers e‑bike boom in London, nearing 5 million rides thanks to 2021 surge

As Mayor of London Sadiq Khan focuses on making streets safer for cycling, we’re thrilled that London Lime cyclists are taking to the bike lanes like never before. New data reveals Londoners are approaching five million total rides, covering eight million miles on Lime e-bikes since they launched at the end of 2018. This equates to circling the earth more than 320 times!

Ridership data shows that more than half of all London e-bike rides - 2.4 million - were completed in 2021 alone, a new annual record. In fact, rides made using our e-bikes doubled last year compared to both 2020 (up 106%) and 2019 (up 128%), highlighting how popular they’ve become as the City reprioritizes street space, allowing Londoners turn to more sustainable and active modes of transport post-pandemic.

Total Lime e bike trips in London graph

While nation-wide lockdowns caused small dips in usage as a result of ‘stay home’ instructions in 2020, figures surged last year despite the total number of e-bikes available remaining constant. This suggests Covid-19 has caused a fundamental shift in consumer mindset, and is a result of the Mayor of London’s efforts to encourage more people to seek alternative ways to travel.

“After the worst of the pandemic was over and strict lockdowns lifted, a flurry of Londoners turned to our e-bikes as an easy, open-air and socially distanced means of transport,” Alan Clarke, Senior Director of Policy for Lime UK&I, commented. Many haven’t looked back. From popping to the shops or meeting friends in parks - and increasingly the return of the commute - ditching cars for e-bikes and e-scooters when taking short trips has offered people a safe, affordable and sustainable means of transport.

With our e-bikes popularity now significantly superseding pre-Covid levels, it’s clear that what we’re seeing is just the start of an exciting behaviour change in London as we look to reduce carbon emissions and live our lives more sustainably.”

Improved infrastructure contributed directly to the increased popularity of Lime’s rental e-bikes. Camden Council experienced a significant rise in the use of Lime’s e-bikes in 2021 following the launch of several cycle improvement schemes which formed part of the Council’s broader Covid-19 Safer Travel Programme in 2020. The schemes included the installation of trial cycle lanes on some of the Borough’s busiest roads, alongside other upgrades like junction improvements. In these areas, Lime e-bike trips were found to increase between 93% and 756% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Meanwhile the Mayor of London announced last year that 260km of high-quality cycle routes had been delivered since May 2016, helping to make cycling in the Capital more accessible and safe for all. In line with this, Transport for London (TfL) figures showed record increases in the number of people cycling in 2021, with an increase of more than 200% on some weekends.

“Funds from the government to deliver not only cycle lanes, but low traffic neighbourhoods, can help continue to persuade more people out of cars and onto active and sustainable options,” added Clarke. “Figures are showing firsthand the positive impact that such infrastructure can have on cities. We're delighted to support the Mayor and Transport for London's vision of a city which prioritises cycling and other micromobility options over cars - and this boom in e-bike use is a testament to their leadership in this area.”

As the UK embraces shared and sustainable forms of transport, we’re excited to announce plans to invest £20 million in London over the next 18 months. As part of this commitment, we launched our latest generation e-scooters under the Government-backed trial with TfL over the Christmas period. The new vehicles come equipped with new interactive screens to improve rider education, improved battery life (28% increase in trips per battery swap), an even better braking system and improved structural strength.

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