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Image credit: Lime

Lime begins its UK push with dockless e-bikes

The bicycles have arrived in Milton Keynes.
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While dockless bike and scooter startups tussle with state regulators here in the US, they're making inroads overseas. So it goes with Lime, which just launched in the UK by bringing a fleet of its electric-assisted bicycles to Milton Keynes: a city located in South-East England that's proving itself somewhat of a tech hotbed with autonomous car trials and AI-controlled traffic lights. That may have made the region more welcoming to Lime than, say, London -- which fellow scooter startup Bird described as "the most highly regulated and restrictive market for this kind of product, globally."

Starting today, riders will be able to grab a Lime bike for a £1 fee ($1.30) through its mobile app, paying an additional 15 pence (19 cents) thereafter for every minute of use. The bicycles are equipped with a 250-watt motor and a rechargeable lithium battery, allowing you to cut down on pedalling and travel further. They'll be available first at intu Milton Keynes shopping centre, though Lime is promising to expand to more UK cities in the future.

"In Milton Keynes, the team has worked extensively with the Council, Police and local cycling groups to ensure proper bike placement and maintenance, making the system easier for locals to use," said Lime in a blog post.

So why e-bikes and not electric scooters? Well, back home Lime was forced to recall its scooters twice in a matter of weeks earlier this year. Rental bikes are also a more common sight on the UK's roads, with dockless bikes from Chinese startups Mobike and Ofo already available in other parts of the country, while the capital is home to Transport for London's ubiquitous Boris bikes.

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