Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax sent a clear message Friday to the five dockless bike share companies that operate in the city: clean up your mess.
In the months since the first rental bikes showed up in Dallas this past summer there have been numerous reports of customers abandoning the bicycles in unsightly positions — in the Trinity River, up in a tree, in an Oak Cliff lake.
There have been many more incidents of bicycles left lying in various states of disarray, including on their sides in large groups that seemingly stay that way for several days in a row.
Broadnax sent a letter Thursday night that establishes a Feb. 9 deadline for the companies to take “corrective actions.”
“Failure to comply and/or demonstrate improved compliance may result in the City having no choice but to begin the removal of bikes from the rights of way and be made available at a centralized location for retrieval by the bike share companies,” Broadnax noted.
“We will take those bikes, we will hold them, however those companies have every right to get those bikes back”, says Michael Rogers, Director of Transportation for the City of Dallas.
The city is already working on new regulations to keep the bike share program going.
“We’re looking at developing some type of policy or permit, we don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like, but we needed to have some compliance immediately”, says Rogers.
Garland-based VBikes recommends the city designate virtual parking spots, identifying specific locations where people should leave the bikes.
“It goes back to educating the public on how to park the bikes, and where to park the bikes, and doing it properly”, says VBikes Karl Haas.
Another bike share operate, LimeBike, provided this statement:
Since launching in Dallas, we have been in constant communication with the city of Dallas to work together to integrate LimeBike as a convenient, sustainable transportation option for residents to enjoy, and will continue to collaborate with the city as it develops regulations for dockless bike-share as a new modern ride option.
We applaud and respect Dallas for welcoming innovative, technology-based transportation, paving the way as a leader for other cities to follow. We welcome the letter as an opportunity to examine both the successes and the challenges of dockless bike-share experiencing such rapid growth.
By doubling down on our operations efforts and enhancing our rider education on responsible parking habits, we strive to provide an affordable, accessible ride option, while also ensuring bikes are always maintained and parked responsibly. With more than 50 employees already managing our bikeshare system, we plan to double this number to 100 by the end of next month as we continue to scale our local operations team as fast as possible.
Over the past six months, LimeBike has provided a mobility solution for more than 60,000 Dallas residents, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Dallas community for many years to come.
The five bike share companies currently operating in Dallas are VBikes, LimeBike, Ofo, Spin and Mobike. Broadnax indicated that a sixth company, U-Bicycle, has “expressed interest in launching in Dallas.”
In his letter, Broadnax answered a question many people have likely asked themselves – just how many of these bikes are there in Dallas?
According to the City Manager, it is estimated that there are close to 20,000 bikes in Dallas.
Broadnax's Letter to Bikeshare Companies
Broadnax's Letter to Mayor, City Council