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Phoenix, Tempe Consider Rules And Fees For Dockless Bike Share

Ofo bikes
Carol Harvey/KJZZ
Ofo dockless bikes parked in the Valley in March 2018.

Dockless bike sharing programs allow users to leave bikes anywhere after they’re done riding them — and that’s led to complaints about blocked sidewalks and cluttered neighborhoods.

During a recent meeting of the Phoenix Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, staff proposed an ordinance and program for dockless bikes. The city’s current bike share program is operated by Grid Bike Share and includes fixed docking stations where bikes are parked.

The proposal for a dockless program would require bikes be parked upright on a hard surface and maintain pedestrian travel space to a width of at least four feet.

Although Phoenix doesn’t currently have a dockless program, Councilwoman Laura Pastor said she gets complaints from residents in her district about bikes being left on private property. She also shared an international experience.

“As I recently traveled to China I also saw the dynamics of 500 dockless bikes just being laid out everywhere,” she said. “Or at one point they were all on top of each other because they just kind of threw them on top of each other.”

The proposal would ban bikes from being left at the corners of sidewalks, parklets, transit zones, loading zones, disabled parking zones, street furniture zones, landscaped areas and curb ramps. It would also require companies to move incorrectly parked bikes within two hours of being notified or the city could move them and charge companies $80 per bike.

The subcommittee voted to recommend city council approval of the dockless program. No date has been set for a council vote. Pastor also requested staff evaluate the program after six months and consider a requirement that dockless bikes be parked only in areas clearly designated by the council.

Tempe has three dockless bike share companies in operation. City Spokeswoman TaiAnna Yee said the city council recently formed a working group to explore fees, the number of bikes and data sharing, among other things. The group is meeting with stakeholders to gather input and no date has been set for the council to discuss and potentially act on a proposal.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.