Dockless Digest: Cities craft new scooter and bike regulations
Louisville, KY; Orlando, FL; and San Antonio all approved new rules around the vehicles, while ofo's apparent worldwide retreat continued in the UK.
Feel like you're caught in a frenzy of dockless bike- and scooter-share news? Us too. In Dockless Digest, Smart Cities Dive will round up the most important (and sometimes bizarre) news and trends affecting the dockless phenomenon to keep you up-to-date.
Is something happening in your city that didn't make the list this week? Shoot us an email at [email protected].
New rules in Louisville, KY; Orlando, FL; San Antonio
Three cities all moved on regulations around dockless bikes and scooters in the last week: Louisville, KY; Orlando, FL; and San Antonio.
The San Antonio Business Journal reports under the new rules, riders must yield to pedestrians and use bike lanes, while companies must pay a $500 fee to obtain a permit. After the vote, Mayor Ron Nirenberg described the rules for the six-month pilot as a “light-touch regulatory framework.”
Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel reports that under new rules approved by the Orlando City Council, dockless vehicles must be parked in places that don’t block public rights of way, and companies must respond to complaints within two hours. Companies must also pay an $800 fee to take part in the city's dockless program, while service renewals will cost $365 during a one-year pilot.
In Louisville, the new policy limits the number of dockless operators to four, with each initially in a six-month probationary period and limited to 150 vehicles to start. Dockless bikes and scooters are also limited to a specific area downtown, bound by Interstate 264.
Is dockless bike-share doomed?
Having seen dockless bikes withdrawn from a slew of American cities, Streetsblog USA asked this week if they are already in danger of dying out in favor of scooters.
The outlet cited examples from Seattle, Dallas and Washington, DC, which have seen an explosion in scooters and a growth in electric bikes, but seen providers withdraw their bikes.
Only time will tell: North American Bike Share Association Executive Director Samantha Herr told Smart Cities Dive in an interview earlier this year that bike-share is “alive and well.”
Ofo scales back UK operating areas
Having withdrawn from the United States earlier this year over what it deemed onerous regulations, Chinese bike-share company ofo is now pulling back some of its UK operations.
According to the Mail, ofo said some areas outside the city centers are "more complicated to manage" than others.
Dockless bikes and scooters have been the source of some light-hearted jokes on late-night television, but Lewis Black of The Daily Show on Comedy Central is not a fan.
During a segment called "Back in Black," Black appears unimpressed and says that riders "give up your dignity" when they take to the streets on a scooter.
He also criticizes the trend to leave the bikes and scooters on sidewalks, saying it is "not sharing, it’s littering."
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