Dockless Bike Share: Community Asset or Public Nuisance?

A close friend of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff hadn’t ridden a bike in 5 YEARS until the bike shares came to town. Now he’s considering buying a bicycle. That’s what the bike shares have done for Dallas. People that otherwise wouldn’t have access or the means to own a bike, are able to ride.

The benefits are visible: tourists on bikes, entire families cycling together and our neighbors running errands on bicycles.

Unfortunately, the drawbacks are just as evident. Without any type of regulation from The City, the bikes have become an eyesore. We see bikes laying on their sides, in trees, streams and vandalized.

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Do these belong here?

The greatest problem is: bikes where they don’t belong. They can be taken anywhere and you WILL see them everywhere. Just search #dallasbikemess on Instagram to see the most creative bike parking jobs around town. And if you haven’t already, give us a follow while you’re there: @bikefriendlyoc

Our friends at Downtown Dallas Inc. came up with one solution to bikes being parked all over by creating designated bike parking downtown, a step in the right direction.

Now we need to motivate people to use the designated parking. Luckily, there’s a model for us to follow: the shopping carts at ALDI or luggage carts at the airport. When the cart is returned, the customer gets their quarter back.

Since share bike transactions are electronic, the rebate or discount can also be electronic. Returning a bike to an approved location (all bikes are tracked by GPS) will result in a discount or credit towards a rebate system.

IMAGINE: parking a share bike correctly ten times earns the rider one free hour. The share companies could even go as far as charging customers more for parking in restricted areas.

We want the share to succeed and understand that it must be done in a responsible way.

So please follow our on-going series on the state of the Dallas bike share.

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