The NSW State Government is making moves to fix what has become an urban blight over the past year, the places and manner in which share bikes are being left on footpaths, roads, and even in bodies of water and trees.
Some NSW councils have already rode in on this, but the State Government announced that it is looking to give all councils enhanced powers to deal with the problem.
“We are going to set up an enforceable code of practice for scheme operators and council rangers will have the powers to penalise operators who don’t stick to the code,” a Transport for NSW Spokesperson said.
“Dockless bike share accounts for more than 6,500 active transport trips per day across Sydney alone. Given this success, we want to encourage operators to keep offering this low impact and affordable service, but not at the expense of clogging the city with broken and unusable bikes that block access.”
Increased power for councils
The NSW Government will establish a code of practice, setting a minimum standard for dockless share bike operators. Firstly that they will have to address safety standards, appropriate bike parking, user education, data sharing, and service levels for reporting and responding to complaints.
Secondly, the code of practice will ensure force both operators and dockless share bike users to use designated parking areas where they are provided, to lessen bike build ups at the bottom of hills and at major event venues.
As mentioned earlier, some councils Australia-wide have already taken action on this issue. In Sydney, the Canada Bay, City of Sydney, Inner West, Randwick, Waverley, and Woollahra municipalities put together Guidelines for dockless bike share operators in December 2017.
In the last couple of weeks alone, Sydney’s Inner West Council began to impound share bikes. It is requiring operators to pay an $80 fee for the impound notice, $65 an hour for council worker to transport the bikes to a depot, and $16 a day to store bikes before being released to the operator.
“In the absence of action from share bike operators, Council is undertaking a bike blitz to remove dangerous and badly parked bicycles throughout the Inner West,” said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.
Riders also have responsibilities
“Riders who park bikes irresponsibly, or flout the rules, could be fined even under existing rules,” the Spokesperson said.
“This is about using common sense. While we encourage riders to use and enjoy share bikes, we urge everybody to be responsible.”
The new code of practice will build on existing council guidelines. The Government will consult with councils, share bike operators, and other key stakeholders in developing the code, which the NSW Parliament will consider later in 2018.
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