oBikes no cause for concern

Thousands of oBikes have appeared on Melbourne's streets in the past weeks, and while some think they are becoming disruptive, Bicycle Network believes there is no cause for concern.

There have been claims that the public bikes have been taking up too many public bike racks and are being parked inappropriately on footpaths in the Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs.

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that despite these feelings, oBikes are a positive addition to Melbourne's streets.

“Many cities around the world have multiple public bike options and anything that makes it easier for people to take the healthy transport option and ride a bike is positive.”

“A more bike friendly city will result in less congestion, less of a strain on public transport and healthier people. It would also create a much more liveable Melbourne that isn’t choked by cars.”

Mr Richards also said that while there have been a couple of instances of the dockless oBikes being parked inappropriately or on bike hoops, people mostly do the right thing.

“We haven’t had any complaints from our members about oBikes taking up bike parking and a look around the city shows that most oBikes are parked respectfully”

“If there’s one thing we need to do, it’s put in more bike parking around the city for everyone to use. If we could get parking a few metres from every doorstep in the CBD it would encourage people to ride wherever they need to go.”

Like other modern business models such as Airbnb and Uber, oBikes are not regulated by a governing body, but users themselves with a credit point system.

People that park oBikes poorly or ride illegally are docked credit points and can be charged a higher rate to hire bikes in the future. Points are also credited for good riding behaviour – including reporting improperly parked oBikes.

Riders start with a balance of 100 points and are charged $1.99 for a 30 minute hire. If your point balance slips to below 60, pricing skyrockets to almost $20 per half hour.

It's easy for oBike users that want to pump up their rating and score a cheaper ride – simply report a poorly parked bike and reap the rewards.

See Bicycle Network's oBike test ride.