The rental bike has joined the ranks of the shopping trolley as a prevalent environmental nuisance; left indiscriminately on pathways or damaged and dumped in parks, waterways and other public areas. Six Sydney councils have decided they’ve had enough and have joined forces to do something about it.
City of Sydney, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick, Waverley, and Woollahra councils have released a set of guidelines for bike rental companies aimed at improving safety and efficiency and reducing environmental impact and obstruction.
The five bike rental companies operating in Sydney – oBike, Ofo, ReddyGo, Mobike and Riide – use a dockless system whereby bikes can be picked up from and dropped off at virtually any location. As a result, bikes tend to pile up in popular destinations such as beaches, parks or other recreational sites where the rider may opt for an alternative mode of transport on the return journey.
Councils want to require companies to use “geofencing” technology – a GPS tracking system that creates a virtual operational boundary and indicates preferred bike parking areas. Ofo already uses geofencing, however other bike companies are trying to delay the regulation citing cost and logistics of implementation.
The guidelines that were introduced in December 2017 allocate more responsibility to bike companies, addressing issues such as:
– leaving bikes parked steady and upright without obstructing entrance ways and thoroughfares.
– ensuring bikes are in good working order and that any damaged bikes are removed within a given timeframe.
– distributing/re-distributing bikes according to demand and to prevent build-up of parked bikes.
– retrieving vandalised and discarded bikes within a given timeframe.
– ensuring company identification and contact details are clearly displayed on the bike.
– ensuring the company is readily contactable 24/7 and responsive to reports of dumped, damaged or incorrectly parked bikes.
The guidelines are not intended to discourage rental bike usage but rather to make it safe, convenient and more enjoyable for riders and the general public.
To download a copy of the guidelines, go to:
City of Sydney – Bike Sharing