Agreement to put the brakes on bike share clutter

Tuesday 17 October 2017

The City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and City of Yarra have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with dockless bike share operator oBike in an effort to improve safety and amenity across the three municipalities.

Since the Singapore-based company introduced the yellow bikes into greater Melbourne earlier this year, there have been ongoing issues with oBikes obstructing pedestrian access to footpaths and being left in inappropriate locations. Through the MOU, the three municipalities are seeking to achieve a well-managed and well regarded bike share operation by oBikes.

The MOU specifies mutually agreed guidelines for oBike and the three municipalities to follow to improve public safety and amenity. Under the terms and conditions outlined in the MOU, the company is responsible for ensuring:

  • oBikes do not obstruct footpath access
  • oBikes are parked upright at all times
  • oBikes are not parked on steps, ramps or other areas that provide directional assistance to the vision impaired
  • oBikes are parked away from roadside kerbs and are not parked on traffic islands or against trees, buildings, light poles or street furniture
    any dangerously placed oBikes are relocated within two hours
  • any oBikes reported as faulty, damaged or unsafe are immediately removed from service and must also be removed from the public realm within 24 hours; until suitably repaired
  • any inappropriately placed oBikes are relocated within 48 hours
  • excessive numbers of oBikes at a single location must be relocated within 24 hours
  • bike locations are monitored regularly to avoid and manage potential breaches of the agreement.

The primary roles and responsibilities outlined in the MOU, and the schedule for collection of unused, faulty or damaged bikes, are detailed in the following extract: Memorandum of Understanding - Extract of Roles and Responsibilities

If oBike fails to comply with the agreed responsibilities set out in the MOU, compliance officers from the three municipalities can confiscate and impound oBikes. The impounded oBikes will only be released to the company if they are claimed within 14 days and a $50 per bike impound release fee has been paid. 

If oBikes are not claimed within the impound timeframe they will be recycled. The three municipalities agreed to extend the previous impound period from seven to 14 days to enable oBike to better comply with the terms and conditions set out in the MOU. The municipalities will also notify the company when oBikes have been impounded.

Under the MOU, the three municipalities will:

  • Determine at their own discretion if the share bikes are placed in appropriate locations or clustered in excessive numbers and take appropriate action
  • Inform the company about broken, damaged, unusable, abandoned or inappropriately placed oBikes via a key company contact
  • Encourage members of the public to report issues directly to oBike and
  • Notify oBike about impounded bikes and charge an impound collection fee (set by each council). 

Members of the public who have questions or concerns about oBikes are encouraged to contact oBike at service@o.bike or via their 24 hour hotline on 0452 512 453.

Several larger companies have signalled they intend to launch dockless bike share schemes in greater Melbourne in the coming months. The three municipalities will be seeking equivalent MOUs with these companies.

The municipalities are also strongly requesting the State Government to urgently establish more fit-for- purpose overall regulatory arrangements. While this MOU is a step in the right direction, the development of dockless bike sharing requires specific regulatory responses that are not currently available to local governments. 

Quote attributable to City of Melbourne Transport Portfolio Chair Cr Nicolas Frances Gilley:

“There is no argument when it comes to the benefits of cycling. It’s great for health and it helps reduce traffic congestion. At City of Melbourne we are continually looking at ways to promote cycling and make it easier for people to use bikes, but the safety of all city users shouldn’t be compromised in the process.”

“The signing of the MOU is a step in the right direction for sustainable transport options like oBike and a safer, clutter-free environment for bike users and pedestrians. It means oBike and the three municipal councils are on the same page when it comes to expectations, roles and responsibilities.”  

Quote attributable to City of Port Phillip Acting Mayor Katherine Copsey:

“Like many people I love jumping on my bike. Port Phillip is one of the most beautiful places to ride and for me there’s no better way to get around. Port Phillip Council wants people to be able to easily access bikes - it helps us stay active and healthy and combats climate change by reducing transport emissions. We also want our footpaths and public spaces to be free of obstructions so everyone can stay safe.”

“Dockless bike share has arrived. This MOU’s important as we need to get the best out of this innovation, especially as several other companies are likely to seek to operate dockless bikes in the CBD and inner Melbourne."

Quote attributable to City of Yarra Mayor Cr Amanda Stone:

“We want to encourage active transport as much as possible, particularly cycling and walking. Our roads and streets are shared spaces, and we are working to ensure that people who want to use sustainable modes of transport feel safe and supported to do so. The Memorandum of Understanding with oBike clearly sets out our expectations for how and where oBikes can be docked, so that they do not impede access for other cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.” 

“oBikes have been a new and unexpected challenge for our city. Through the MOU we are taking a proactive approach to managing them whilst encouraging people who may not be regular cyclists to give riding a go. We’re optimistic that shared bikes can support cycling and public transport use by providing a ‘last mile’ solution.”

CONTACTS

City of Melbourne 

Senior Media Adviser: Brodie Bott

Ph: 0455 154 674

brodie.bott@melbourne.vic.gov.au 

City of Port Phillip

Media Coordinator: Sandra Bull

Ph: 0401 367 627

mediaenquiries@portphillip.vic.gov.au

City of Yarra

Manager - Communications and Engagement: Brooke Colbert

Ph: 0409 267 439

Brooke.Colbert@yarracity.vic.gov.au

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