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Dockless Bikes Remain a Local Nuisance

By Siriol Dafydd on April 29, 2018 in News

E.T. phone Ofo, by Henry Thomas.

Despite new regulations put in place a few months ago, dockless bikes continue to be the bane of local authorities’ existence. Back on March 5, Waverley Council announced that they were impounding abandoned bikes. Council rangers (who already cop enough agro as it is) went out and collected 65 of the buggers, with each bike costing $70 if the relevant share bike companies wanted to retrieve them.
A spokesperson for Waverley Council told The Beast, “Council has retrieved bikes which were damaged and considered inoperable from pools, trees, beaches and cliffs. This is of concern because it seems bikes are being vandalised by people who are unlikely to be customers of the share bike companies.”
At the end of March, mayors from six Inner Sydney councils, including Waverley and Randwick, called for immediate action from the NSW Government, asking them to work alongside councils to update legislation which they feel is “rapidly being outstripped by the emerging bike share industry”.
The bike companies meanwhile are doing their best to remain on the positive side. Ofo announced their partnership with Bicycle New South Wales, hoping that together they could shift behaviour towards bike sharing and get more people pedalling the roads. Through a string of events and educational campaigns, they hope to help familiarise locals with bike sharing and inform them on how best to use the service (i.e. not leave bikes in stupid places).
Commenting on the partnership, Craig Meagher, CEO of BNSW said, “Bike sharing has huge potential to become an essential part of Sydney’s transport infrastructure. Not only will it help alleviate pressure on the city’s roads and public transport, it could also help reduce the city’s carbon emissions to levels that Sydney, as a member of the United Nations Development Program’s C40 Cities initiatives, has committed to.”
Meanwhile, Mina Nada, General Manager of Mobike told The Beast, “We share the concerns of Waverley Council over the yellow bike eyesore that has hit some areas due to irresponsible fleet management by some operators.” Shots fired!
Mr Nada continued, “We do not actively deploy our bikes within Waverley Council as we consider the terrain to be challenging for non-motorised cycling, however our fleet maintenance team regularly service any bikes which are ridden into the area.”
A Reddy Go spokesperson told The Beast, “Helmet theft and bike damage are an issue for us as well as the bike sharing industry as a whole. We recognise the importance of maintaining good relationships with the public and the local councils. We have strived to do this from day one, but along the way various factors have contributed to a decline in trust in the industry. Despite some of the difficulties, Reddy Go most certainly sees a positive future for share bikes in Sydney, and we look forward to continued dialogue and cooperation with councils.”
As for solving the issue of idiots wreaking havoc, Waverley Council explained, “Education about share bikes for both users and the community is an ongoing issue. Council will continue to assess and monitor the performance of share bikes and take action when necessary.”
In a joint statement on March 29, the six councils said they will “work together to propose new State Government legislation or regulation that can make commercial bike sharing succeed without local communities bearing the costs”.
Meanwhile, Mobike believes Sydney could learn from their partnership with City of Gold Coast, where they established marked parking hubs, particularly in high use areas, to encourage responsible bike parking.
But does any of this really solve anything? It seems that the actual bike users cause very few of the issues when it comes to abandoned bikes. You can educate and regulate your customers all you want, but until we find a way to stop the clowns who are transporting them to idiotic places and vandalising them purely for their own amusement, will anything actually change?