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A Year After Bike-Sharing Came To Dallas, The City Is Considering These Regulations

Molly Evans
Garland-based VBikes was the first company to distribute its dockless bikes around Dallas last June. At least four other companies have joined the scene in the past year.

Dallas has let private dockless bike-share companies operate freely since they first appeared last summer. Now, city officials have drawn up some regulations.

The plan, which would require bike-share companies to pay for a permit, provide ridership data to the city and limit where bikes can be parked, among other things, was presented to Dallas City Council on Wednesday. A vote is scheduled later this month.

Earlier this year, the number of bikes — estimated at 20,000 at one point — got out of control, and the city warned the companies to tidy up. These days, there aren’t quite as many bikes littered in White Rock Lake, tangled in trees and found in other precarious places. City officials say the number’s closer to 13,000 now.

Five main companies currently operate in the city. Garland-based VBikes first revived bike-sharing in Dallas last June. Spin and LimeBike joined the scene in August, followed by Ofo in November and Mobike in December.

Here are the proposed ordinance requirements:

  • The city would require companies to pay almost $800 for a permit, along with an annual renewal fee of nearly $400, a performance bond of $5,000 and an $18 fee per bike.

  • Companies can’t park bicycles in a way that would block foot or street traffic. They also can’t be parked within five feet of a crosswalk or curb ramp without permission.

  • Companies must rebalance bicycles at least once a week, which means moving bikes from a low-demand area to a high-demand area.

  • Companies must remove bicycles that don’t work or aren’t safe to operate within 24 hours. The city will also throw away any bikes found in creeks, lakes or ponds if the company doesn’t retrieve them.

  • Companies are required to share ridership data with the city, such as the number of rides per day and heat maps illustrating activity across the city.

  • Companies must maintain general liability insurance that covers single instances of bodily injury, including death and property damage. Companies cannot be self-insured.

Read the document presented to City Council.

Dallas Proposed Bike-Share Ordinance by KERANews on Scribd

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.