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Position paper features list of best practices to help towns and cities manage arrival of dockless bike share firms

The European Cyclists Federation has expressed concern about the arrival and rapid expansion of dockless bike share schemes. It warns that many of the firms expanding into Europe, having had huge success in China, have previously displayed a lack of cooperation with local authorities.

There have been dockless bike share schemes in several UK towns and cities for a while now, but there has been a recent surge in interest following the high profile launches of Mobike in Manchester and oBike in London.

While there is enthusiasm for the concept in a broader sense, both of these schemes have since attracted unwanted attention with reports of bikes being deliberately damaged and at least one council considering parked bikes “obstructive”.

Another Chinese dockless bike share firm, ofo, this month raised over £500m in funding with which to pursue international expansion.

Cambridge News reports that ofo is to triple the number of bikes available in Cambridge, but concerns have been expressed about what this means for local bike shops and a city where there is already a shortage of bike parking spaces.

Bike Europe reports on a recent position paper by the Europe-wide Platform on Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PEBSS) – a body formed by the European Cyclists Federation – which expresses concern about how these firms operate.

The paper makes reference to, “the disruptive innovation of app-based, un-anchored and un-licensed bike share schemes, and how that may affect Western markets as they expand aggressively.”

It warns: “A carefully designed service area strategy for all forms of bike share systems is a critical component   of a wider urban mobility strategy. Forward planning of parking spaces and other cycling infrastructure, providing orderly streets, ensuring public safety, and promoting tourism are important elements of this strategy. 

“On this there are some issues as reports from Chinese cities suggest that there is a lack of  redistribution efforts by these operators, with bicycles sometimes inundating  popular areas of the city, compounded by a lack of maintenance leading to discarded bikes piling up in public spaces.

“The sheer volume of bicycles (for instance, 600,000 bikes in Shenzhen) and the expected comparatively low number of staff to manage these bikes helps explain this. A lack of coordination and cooperation with local authorities further compounds the problems that cities face with the roll-out of unlicensed dockless bike sharing. 

“This also means that while these systems do not appear to involve any direct public financial support, they could entail some cost for public authorities as they may have to deal with nuisances in public space.”

The paper includes a list of best practices which it says can help cities and relevant public authorities construct their own framework to manage the arrival of dockless bike sharing operators.

Straits Times reports that Wukong Bike has become the first dockless bike-share firm to shut down after 90 per cent of its bicycles went missing, just five months after its launch.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

7 comments

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [547 posts] 4 months ago
10 likes

LMAO.  Cars abandoned fully parked on pavements.  Parked on ruined grass verges, blocking dropped kerbs, pedestrian and cyclist exits, etc.  Pavements with cracked and broken flagstones.  Entire roads clogged up with private cars parked as far as the eye can see - and people start to get worried about the odd bicycle left here and there?

The point with dockless bikes is that you don't need parking spaces.  You simply leave them wherever you like, all you have to do is be a bit responsible and make sure they're not blocking anyone's progress.  And if they become a nuisance in a particular place, you just send the council van around to clear them out and then charge the company who owns them for the privilege.

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50kcommute [92 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Personally, I tend to see a lot of bikes in one area as a good thing .. hope that we are becoming less car-centric.

That said, maybe there does need to be a code of conduct or enforceable rules that any bike company should adhere to... I don't really want to be negotiating pools of a bikes
on the already congested pavements of London ... Bitter sweet  1

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Ush [1015 posts] 4 months ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

if they become a nuisance in a particular place, you just send the council van around to clear them out and then charge the company who owns them for the privilege.

Exactly. Easiest thing in the world to apply a corrective stick in this situation, to a single, easily-identifiable commercial entity.

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harman_mogul [301 posts] 4 months ago
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No bark piking provision is a bad idea. My wife reminds me of this from time to time.

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leaway2 [80 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

LMAO.  Cars abandoned fully parked on pavements.  Parked on ruined grass verges, blocking dropped kerbs, pedestrian and cyclist exits, etc.  Pavements with cracked and broken flagstones.  Entire roads clogged up with private cars parked as far as the eye can see - and people start to get worried about the odd bicycle left here and there?

Even the car in the picture is encroaching on the crossing!

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RedfishUK [159 posts] 4 months ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

LMAO.  Cars abandoned fully parked on pavements.  Parked on ruined grass verges, blocking dropped kerbs, pedestrian and cyclist exits, etc.  Pavements with cracked and broken flagstones.  Entire roads clogged up with private cars parked as far as the eye can see - and people start to get worried about the odd bicycle left here and there?

The point with dockless bikes is that you don't need parking spaces.  You simply leave them wherever you like, all you have to do is be a bit responsible and make sure they're not blocking anyone's progress.  And if they become a nuisance in a particular place, you just send the council van around to clear them out and then charge the company who owns them for the privilege.

 

Don't cloud the issue with reasoned arguement. It's cycling, so its bad, in a lycra clad red light jumping non road tax paying way.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 4 months ago
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I really wouldn't expect them to remain unstolen, or not carefully parked in the local canal, long enough to become a nuisance.