Preventing Unauthorized Bike Share Programs
Posted by Councilmember Englander on February 23, 2018 at 11:45 AM
Today, I introduced a motion that would issue a moratorium on new dockless bike share programs with the exception of Council approved existing programs. The Motion also calls on the LA Department of Transportation and the City Attorney to develop the appropriate guidelines and permitting system for the establishment of such a service as well as penalties for not adhering to guidelines.
The City of Los Angeles is experiencing substantial growth in transportation sharing options including bikes, electric scooters, and cars. These transportation options are encouraged by many as a solution to traffic congestion and reduced air pollution, increase ridership on public transportation and supporting “1st Mile/Last Mile” solutions. The City is only beginning to get involved in these sharing programs, and is necessarily catching up to programs like car and ride sharing options. Other Cities and Countries also have similar programs with varying success rates and failure stories.
While Metro’s docked bike share program is showing promise, dockless bike share programs are negatively impacting residents and businesses. Constituents are reporting that dockless bikes are being left on private property, in the middle of public sidewalks where they block the public right of way and strewn about public spaces blocking pedestrian and vehicle access and creating additional mobility issues for people using wheel chairs or other devices for assistance.
These services are currently unpermitted and unregulated by the City of Los Angeles, creating many unintended consequences that require City intervention. The lack of proper regulation and some form of permitting to control either the location or the operation of these programs, has caused the City to be overwhelmed with complaints about these bikes and other dockless modes of transportation. The City seemingly has no way to stop them, yet we are all impacted in one way or another.
Similar programs in China, Europe and other U.S. cities have caused countless issues – including the abandonment of the vehicles in public areas. As evidenced by recent legal action in the City of Santa Monica involving an electric scooter company, there has not yet been an adequate public dialogue on these dockless options to warrant their unregulated, unpermitted, and unmonitored operation in the City. The safety, mobility and cleanliness of our public right-of-way is essential, and any private company hoping to operate in it needs to ensure these basic principles.