BG Note | Policy - Dallas Fed Up with Dockless Bike Share

The City of Dallas is fed up with dockless bike share.  At least its current unregulated form. 

According to the Dallas Morning News, City Manager T.C. Broadnax notified LimeBike, Ofo, and Mobike, as well as Texas-based VBikes, that the firms had until February 9th to do the following:

  • Clear bikes off all sidewalks narrower than 10 feet in width and out of the way of sidewalk-curb ramps;
  • Remove bikes from turf, landscaping, or other unimproved surfaces; and
  • Clear bikes left on trails to trail heads.

From the article:

For months the city has taken a hands-off approach to bike-share, in large part because Dallas was once desperate to get rentals on the road — preferably ones with docking stations, like you see in New York or Fort Worth. But that would have cost millions the city didn't have. So city officials gave VBikes and its well-funded competitors, most based out of China, a wide berth in the hopes that the market would sort itself out and there would be one or two companies left standing. 
Instead, City Hall wound up with a mess that continues to spread across the city as new operators come to town and existing ones keep dropping off more and more bikes. The pilot program was meant to last six months. But as [Dallas Mayor] Rawlings said, "We got through three, four months and realized we have some real issues."... 

City Manager Broadnax estimated there were around 20,000 bikes on the streets since the pilot launched in August.

While nothing official has been proposed, the article indicates regulations are on the horizon. While floated options such as placing limits on the number of bikes allowed in parts of the city, as well as right-of-way permits.

Here in Austin, dockless bikeshare was most recently in the news last December (See, City tentatively talks about dockless bike-sharing - Austin Monitor).

While several companies have been communicating with the city, including Ofo, Spin, and Limebike, there is currently no planned or potential plan for similar pilot as Dallas conducted. And no doubt Austin officials are watching and speaking with their Dallas colleagues about their experience.

With SXSW 2018 a little over a month away (March 9), it will be interesting to see what, if any, deals are worked out to get dockless bikes here temporarily (See, Startups Work With Austin to Roll ‘Dockless’ Bikes Safely Back Out to SXSW - KUT).

//The Bingham Group 


BG Policy Note | The Future of Dockless Bikeshare in Austin

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


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