While their purpose is theoretically good, the bicycle-sharing service oBike has become somewhat of a joke since it launched in Sydney back in August. Now, Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne has shared a new plan which hopes to regulate the usage of these bikes, and make them into less of the nuisance they have become.
Despite Singaporean company oBike only launching in January, the bicycle-sharing start-up has spread worldwide, giving countless users the chance to locate and use bikes as they are needed. Part of the service’s success comes from the fact that the bikes can be left anywhere the rider pleases, without having to be left in a designated docking station.
However, because people can be jerks, these bikes have ended up littering the footpaths of the city, being flung onto rooftops, and even being found in the River Yarra in Melbourne. Now, one of the most vocal critics of these bikes is Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne.
Taking to Facebook recently, Darcy Byrne shared a plan to hopefully regulate the usage of these bikes, thereby reducing the chance of these bikes becoming rubbish on the footpath instead of a means of transportation.
“Today I am announcing a plan to properly regulate and establish permits for commercial bike hire schemes across Sydney,” he wrote. “I am determined that bike share schemes must be successful (we need them to counteract congestion) but that success depends upon making sure they don’t reduce accessibility and safety for pedestrians on our footpaths and roads.”
“In recent weeks bikes like these have been littered throughout the Inner West by commercial operators, without any regulation or oversight about where they are parked.
“Tonight I am putting forward a Mayoral Minute that will see the Inner West Council take the lead in establishing a common set of rules about bike share for the 5 most central councils in Sydney – Inner West, City of Sydney, Randwick, Woollahra and Waverley.”
Byrne also continues by saying that he and Council officers had met up with bike share operators in recent days in order to hopefully explore options for the future.
Understandably, this announcement was met with a lot of support from the general public who are also sick of oBikes becoming left anywhere (and some users who believe that more regulation is exactly what Sydney needs). Numerous users commented on Byrne’s post, suggesting alternatives, including methods used by cities in which the bikes have to be returned to a designated docking station.
Facebook user Scott Nagy also commented on the post, sharing an image of a European system. “This is the Bike share system in Barcelona named Bicing, you should check out their model,” he wrote.
“It works similar to opal cards, there are stations (bike racks) around the city and you tap on/off to rent the Bike. I for one am very happy to see all these new bikes popping up everywhere it means less people are driving.” Darcy Byrne was quick to respond to Nagy’s comment, stating that he will look into this model.
While it seems like the scourge of the oBike is unending at the moment, if politicians like Darcy Byrne have their way, we might end up seeing some common sense being thrown into the mix and turning a viable transport option into less of an eyesore.