Councils reach agreement to reduce oBike clutter

By Sunny Liu

The Cities of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip have signed an agreement with bike share company oBike to regulate the clutter of dockless bikes scattered around Melbourne.

Since its launch in July, oBike has created problems with its dockless feature. OBikes have been found dumped in the Yarra River, thrown up on trees and at other inappropriate locations and blocking footpaths and roads.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said in August he had come to the end of his tether with oBikes.

“When you pay your 70 bucks, they couldn’t care less. And they’ll just leave them anywhere and you can leave them anywhere,” he said.

In September the City of Melbourne impounded some oBikes for creating “urban clutter”.

The three city councils signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with oBike on October 17, specifying guidelines for the Singaporean operator to better manage its yellow bikes to improve public safety and amenity.

Under the MOU, oBike has agreed to ensure things such as:

  • oBikes do not obstruct footpath access;
  • oBikes are parked upright;
  • oBikes are not parked on steps, ramps or other areas for 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;
  • Damaged oBikes must be removed from service and the public realm within 24 hours; and
  • Dangerously-placed oBikes are relocated within two hours and inappropriately placed oBikes are relocated within 48 hours.

Council officers are able to confiscate oBikes if the operator does not comply with the agreed responsibilities.

OBike will need to pay $50 for each bike that has been impounded for more than 14 days. Bikes not claimed within 14 days will be recycled. The three councils will also seek similar MOUs with new dockless bike share companies that have indicated they would launch in Melbourne in the coming months.

The public is encouraged to report issues directly to oBike.

City of Melbourne transport portfolio chair Nicholas Frances Gilley said: “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,” he said.

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