Only around 200 out of the 500 bikes in Edinburgh’s bike share scheme are currently available for hire following a spate of attacks from vandals. Around 100 have been damaged in the last two weeks with youths in Leith and north Edinburgh thought to be responsible.
The Just Eat Cycles scheme has suffered vandalism before. The latest bout came after it offered free hires for a week earlier this month.
Just Eat Cycles general manager Charles Graham told The Scotsman: “We experienced a rise in user activity in the weeks before the free week and a significant spike in activity during the free week itself.
“This has unfortunately led to a number of our bikes being intentionally damaged and in need of repair.
“We are now working to repair and return these bikes to hire points across the city as quickly as possible in order to return the fleet to over 500 bikes.”
While most of the damage is described as “minor and repairable,” a spokesperson said some bikes at dockless stations were more badly damaged.
“A smaller portion of bikes have had their front wheel locking mechanism damaged by individuals attempting to forcibly unlock bikes at virtual stations. Just Eat Cycles is working with the police to reduce instances of this happening.”
One source told the newspaper: “Anecdotally, the people doing the damage are teens/kids running wild and targeting the same spots – typically around Leith and north Edinburgh.”
Ian Maxwell of Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign, said: “There may be other things the operators can do to reduce the risk of this happening, such as altering where bikes are located.
“There may also be ideas from established UK hire schemes on how to cut vandalism. This may be particularly necessary when the more expensive electric bikes become available.”
In contrast, Glasgow City Council says the level of vandalism on its bike hire scheme has been “negligible.”
In September of last year, dockless bike-share firm Mobike pulled out of Manchester. The firm said that levels of vandalism and theft had rendered its operation in the city “unsustainable.”