Derby cycle scheme suspended over vandalism

Woman on an e-bike Image copyright Derby City Council
Image caption Derby City Council said the e-bikes had been used by about 7,000 riders

A city's electric bike scheme has been suspended after a surge in vandalism left only about a third of the cycles useable.

About 200 e-bikes were placed at 30 points across Derby in June 2018 after about £450,000 was secured.

Hourbike, which manages the rental scheme, said a small group of vandals seemed "intent on destroying" it.

Hammers and angle grinders have been used to smash the bike's digital panels, the city council said.

The e-bike scheme has seen about 7,000 riders travel roughly 150,000 miles (241,401 km) since its launch.

But, due to "unprecedented vandalism" over the past few months, about 67% of the fleet has been taken off the road.

Spare parts have been exhausted and the amount of supplies required are not readily available in the UK.

Image copyright Derby City Council
Image caption Spare parts to repair the bikes have been exhausted

Jonathan Smale, from the council, said a number of individuals had been targeting the cycles' digital control panels with "extreme force", and in some cases using hammers and angle grinders to remove them.

He said: "It is very hard to understand why anybody would want to ruin an initiative designed only to benefit the community."

Hourbike said it could no longer operate the scheme with the remaining fleet and the temporary suspension would allow time for options to be explored.

In September, Manchester's bike-sharing scheme was halted after losing 10% of its fleet each month.

Derbyshire Police is working closely with the e-bike organisers to assess evidence and take action against those responsible, the council said.

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