The District is testing the use of dockless bikeshare with a pilot program, but some residents are already insisting on tighter regulations.
Earlier this week, residents in Ward 4 reportedly complained about the presence of bicycles in alleys and yards, and wants the city to address concerns even before the pilot program ends.
“It has become apparent that many residents have become dissatisfied with [the bicycles’] presence,” one neighborhood commissioner from Ward 4 wrote in a letter posted on Twitter.
Under the dockless bikeshare pilot program, the District has allowed five companies—Limebike, ofo, Spin, JUMP, and Mobike—to test their services that allow residents to share bikes without dedicated docking stations. Dockless bikeshare users can find bikes through a location-tracking system and leave them in any public area to be found by other riders. This differs from Capital Bikeshare, which is partly funded by the District and other local jurisdiction.
The Ward 4 commissioner said that residents were caught off guard by the presence of the bikes, despite there being public hearings and a town hall event in Ward 2 in December. Residents expressed concern about the bikes’ “unsightly presence in unusual locations,” “criminal elements that result from their presence and locations,” and “ease of movement/escape from watchful eyes of law enforcement.”
In Georgetown, residents were urged on a neighborhood to call 911 if they saw anyone using the bikes, earning a rebuke from the Metropolitan Police Department.
The District’s dockless bikeshare pilot program began in September and extends until April. Residents can provide feedback on the program. Montgomery County is also testing dockless bikeshare in Silver Spring and Takoma Park.
Here’s a rather insightful blog post examining the pros and cons of dockless bikeshare and how it’s worked in other locations around the world.
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