Melbourne’s inner councils have struck a memorandum of understanding with operators of dockless bike share scheme, oBike.
The councils say the bikes have cluttered the streets and have had a negative impact on safety and amenity.
The bikes often topple from their stands or are knocked over. Many have been vandalised.
The cities of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the operator which sets down a long list of responsibilities for the management of the system.
If oBike do not stick to their parts of the deal, the councils can confiscate and impound the bikes.
The impounded oBikes will only be released to the company if they are claimed within 14 days and a $50 per bike impound release fee has been paid.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said oBike users park the bikes respectfully and that throwing and vandalising oBikes is not on.
"The majority of bikes are parked responsibly and thoughtfully, we shouldn’t let a few people doing the wrong thing spoil it," said Mr Richards
"I can’t understand why people think it’s terrible to vandalise a train but ok to throw a public bike in the river/harbor? Would they think it’s ok to take a car share or a bus and drive it into the water?"
— Craig Richards (@richobicycle) October 17, 2017
Under the terms and conditions outlined in the MOU, the company is responsible for ensuring:
- oBikes do not obstruct footpath access
- oBikes are parked upright at all times
- oBikes are not parked on steps, ramps or other areas that provide directional assistance to the vision impaired
- oBikes are parked away from roadside kerbs and are not parked on traffic islands or against trees, buildings, light poles or street furniture
- any dangerously placed oBikes are relocated within two hours
- any oBikes reported as faulty, damaged or unsafe are immediately removed from service and must also be removed from the public realm within 24 hours; until suitably repaired
- any inappropriately placed oBikes are relocated within 48 hours
- excessive numbers of oBikes at a single location must be relocated within 24 hours
- bike locations are monitored regularly to avoid and manage potential breaches of the agreement.
Under the MOU, the three municipalities will:
- Determine at their own discretion if the share bikes are placed in appropriate locations or clustered in excessive numbers and take appropriate action
- Inform the company about broken, damaged, unusable, abandoned or inappropriately placed oBikes via a key company contact
- Encourage members of the public to report issues directly to oBike
- Notify oBike about impounded bikes and charge an impound collection fee (set by each council).
The councils say they will seek similar MOU’s with any of the other dockless bike share companies that launch in Melbourne in the future.