- Chicago will introduce a dockless bike-share pilot program this month to compete with Divvy, the city-operated docked version, according to Streetsblog Chicago and others.
- The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has released permitting requirements and the parameters of the pilot, which will cover most of the city south of 79th Street and run until November 1.
- Bike-share provider LimeBike confirmed to Streetsblog Chicago that they plan to launch in the city with 50 bikes, with others likely to follow.
CDOT's permitting requirements are quite stringent, and notably expect prospective operators to have "demonstrated experience in offering a dockless bikeshare program in a major city with 500,000 or more population without license or permit revocation." It also requires operators to be a member in good standing with the North American Bikeshare Association (NABA) and limits vendors to 250 bikes during the pilot.
The department has clearly looked to learn the lessons of other cities, as it has a rule that companies are required to move any bikes parked unlawfully within two hours of it being reported, day or night. "The City has the right to remove any and all such bikes that are not remedied in accordance with the provisions outlined in this permit," the regulations continue.
This comes hot on the heels of Austin passing an ordinance making it illegal to leave dockless vehicles in the public right of way, while San Francisco and Dallas are among the cities to wrestle with the "clutter conundrum" that has resulted from the dockless bike and scooter trend.
DC recently extended its dockless bike-share pilot program, with District Department of Transportation (DDOT) spokesman Terry Owens telling Smart Cities Dive in an email that the program has not impacted the city’s Capital Bikeshare docked program. Chicago’s pilot program, albeit in a more limited area than DC’s, could be a success too and avoid some of the rancor that has accompanied similar initiatives in other cities.