They've failed over and over again, but some companies are still doggedly trying to make dockless bikes happen against all the odds.
American e-bike (and e-scooter, sigh) company Lime has just launched its own range of eye-meltingly green cycles in the capital, barely five minutes since they brought them to Milton Keynes.
There definitely hasn't been enough time for the company to assess how well the bikes are working in Milton Keynes (it's not even been a month), and after all the companies that have had to pull out of various UK and world cities due to vandalism and theft, we're kind of incredulous anyone is still throwing money at this. Especially in London, where Boris Bikes are readily available (and not dockless, so people don't throw them in the river so much), and we already have too many dockless bike services trying to compete.
Bafflingly starting in Brent and Ealing, Lime is offering 1,000 e-bikes at first. They're electric-assisted, so you can apparently get up to 14mph with the help of the 250-watt motor.
They're also REALLY cheap: £1 to hire, then 15p a minute. While this is a good thing for cyclists, it's not that great for the company: people in the UK also pay £1 to unlock a shopping trolley, and think about how many of those end up abandoned or stolen.
Stealing is already a big problem with dockless bikes: people like to smash off the GPS tracker, respray the frame, then either keep it or stick it on Gumtree.
The bikes are becoming a real nuisance around the world, and they've already caused lots of problems in London. Just two days into oBike's London launch, for instance, they had to agree to pull out of certain London boroughs, had been served with highway obstruction notices, and had had a bike marooned on an island.
It's even worse in China, where discarded dockless bikes form giant colourful mountains:
And that's just the start. There are loads of problems with this business model around the world, and for every company that thinks they've cracked it, there are three pulling out somewhere because of insurmountable issues.
Will Lime bikes be a success in London? Well, you know how we feel, but we're always up for being proved wrong. Godspeed, doomed green bikes. Godspeed. [Engadget]