City Of Sydney Pressures Bike Share Concerns

The NSW government is being pressured by the City of Sydney which is calling for regulation for the four dockless bike share companies operating in Sydney CBD.

“Dockless bike share is already in many areas beyond the City of Sydney including the inner west, eastern suburbs and northern beaches – which is why the NSW Government is best placed to provide leadership on any issues,” a City of Sydney spokesperson said.

“Whilst we support the concept of bike share, we continue to stress our concerns about safety, redistribution of bikes and accessibility on footpaths, and have found operators to be responsive to public queries and complaints.”

In June, prior to the introduction of share bikes in Sydney, Lord Mayor Clover Moore wrote to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian asking the state government to urgently develop an appropriate response to managing bike share.

“The Premier referred the letter to the Minister for Roads and Minister for Innovation. It is our understanding Transport for NSW is working out its approach,” the City of Sydney spokesperson said.

“In addition, we’ve had numerous meetings with bike share operators, neighbouring councils and Transport for NSW about the rollout of bike share in Sydney.”

Since the City of Sydney delegated the matter to the NSW state government, they have prepared and uploaded their own guidelines for both share bike operators and users. The guidelines cover issues around rider safety and the inappropriate misplacement of bikes.

In regards to bike misplacement, a spokesperson for the Lord Mayor said they are committed to “striking a balance” between getting more people riding bikes and the fair use of public space.

“It’s the responsibility of operators to make sure their bicycles aren’t left in unsafe places, or in large numbers in any particular area,” a Lord Mayor spokesperson said. “In most cases, council officers ask the responsible company to move bikes, and we’ve found them very responsive.”

“All road users, whether they’re in a car, walking or on a bike should be considerate of other road users and follow the road rules. Bike users should leave their bikes in sensible and safe locations, out of the way of pedestrians and cars, when they finish riding.”

Currently, there are four dockless bike share companies operating within the Sydney metropolitan area – ReddyGo, oBike, airbike and ofo – with more than 4,000 bikes roaming the streets. Of the four, ofo returned for comment, with Scott Walker, Head of Strategy for ofo Australia, sharing their internal remedies for misplacement of bikes with the help of GPS tracking.

“Our ‘geofence’ guides riders towards suggested preferred parking areas through the app, and prompts riders to return bikes to our operational zone if they ride outside it,” Scott Walker said.

“ofo’s credit system is also in place which rewards users who use ofo bicycles correctly whilst deducting points from the few who do not follow ofo parking rules and recommendations, demonstrating our commitment to building a bike sharing model that benefits all Australians.”

Scott also said what sets ofo apart from other bike share companies, is their “hard-working” local operations team.

“In each city you see our bikes, we have dedicated ofo city managers, working with proactive and reactive local operations teams, who look after ongoing bike maintenance, daily bike monitoring and re-distribution,” Scott said.

“The local teams also preferred parking zones that meet transport needs whilst also benefiting from the availability of street lighting and CCTV for the safety and security of our bikes and our riding community.”

In regards to the value of bike share companies, the Lord Mayor spokesperson referred to the growing population of Sydney.

“Every person on a bike or on foot means more space on the roads for people who need to drive, or on crowded buses and trains where people often struggle to get a seat,” the Lord Mayor spokesperson said.

“It’s also a healthier and cheaper way of getting around the city and gets congestion off our roads. Bike share is popular. Over 60,000 metropolitan Sydneysiders have downloaded bike sharing apps and there are more than 2,000 trips on bike share across the city each day.”