By LANIE TINDALE
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has been rounding share-bikes off pathways, saying that “we now have to use the stick.”
Three months ago, 6 Sydney councils proposed guidelines for bike share companies. The Inner West Council announced a trial period of three months for the companies to comply, which has now come to an end.
Mr. Byrne says that the guidelines are “simple” but that the dockless bike share companies “haven’t done enough to lift their game.”
The Mayors announced that if inactive bikes are not moved after a fortnight, they will be impounded.
“Impounding bikes sounds simple but comes at a real cost for our ratepayers.
Council would like to see the share bike guidelines extended into a formal service agreement, where bike share operators are liable for Council costs if our rangers have to remove bikes” Said Mr. Byrne.
He says that “disabled, immobile and elderly residents are unable to go to their local shops because bike share operators are leaving bikes dumped all over our streets.”
A spokesperson from bike share company ReddyGo said: “We understand why Inner West Council has begun impounding broken bikes, and whilst this is an additional challenge, it pushes us as a business to do better and will help the industry be more responsive going forward.”
ReddyGo uses GPS to track bicycles, and has had problems with bike theft and damage.
“Helmet theft and bike damage are an issue for us as well as the bike sharing industry as a whole. Being both a market disruptor and a start-up, 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 sees a positive future for share bikes in Sydney, and we look forward to continued dialogue and cooperation with councils.”
The guidelines devised by the six Sydney Councils – including the Inner West, Woollahra, Waverley, City of Sydney, Randwick City and City of Canada Bay say that operators must use geo-fencing which creates a virtual perimeter in which the bike may be monitored, “preferred parking and exclusion zones in high traffic areas, such as sections of waterfront or for large events where public safety is an issue.”
Mr. Byrne places responsibility on both the bike share operators who he says “have got to do more to get on top of issues like vandalism, public safety and accessibility” and the state government.
The bike operators found in Sydney are OBike, ReddyGo, Ofo and Mobike. Bikes have been found in waterways, beaches, trees and parks