City Hall

Dallas City Manager Tells Bike-Share Companies to Clean Up After Themselves

A pile of ofo bikes.
A pile of ofo bikes. Jim Schutze
Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax issued Dallas' five dockless bike-share operators a warning Thursday night. The companies, Broadnax wrote in a letter to LimeBike, ofo, Spin, VBikes and MoBike, need to relocate all bikes violating a new set of rules established by the manager.

According to Broadnax's letter, the bikes must not be:

• On sidewalks narrower than 10 feet in width
• On turf, landscaping or other unimproved surfaces
• Blocking access to public or private property and transit stops (including
bus and rail transit)
• Blocking sidewalk curb ramps
• On multi-use trails to their respective trailheads
If the bikes aren't moved by Feb. 9, Broadnax says, the city "may be left with no choice but to begin removing bicycles in its rights of way, sidewalks, trails and/or trailheads that are identified as obstructions or hazards." In a separate note to the City Council, Broadnax explained that bikes picked up by the city would be made available at a "central location for retrieval by the bike share companies."

Broadnax says the city met with the companies Dec. 7 to let them know how they're expected to behave. Those expectations have not been met, according to the city manager, who echoed the complaints of many Dallas residents who view the bikes as urban litter.

In response to a request for comment from the Observer about the letter, ofo issued the following statement:

"We will continue to work closely with City officials to build the best bikesharing program for Dallas, educate riders on how and where to properly park, and remain part of the solution with our professionally trained local operations team," the company said.

LimeBike, the company that, along with ofo, appears to own the vast majority of Dallas' $1-per-hour rent-a-bikes, told the Observer on Thursday night that it would have a comment Friday morning, but it hadn't provided one as of publication. Last month, Anthony Fleo, the head of the company's Dallas operation, said bike clutter would be improved as Dallas residents and visitors became more familiar with bike-share.

"I think naturally, too, it will get a little easier because the users themselves will understand a little bit more about how it works," Fleo said. "Once they understand a little about how to do it more responsibly, I think some of those complaints will go down."

Update 12:00 p.m. Jan. 19 — LimeBike tells the Observer that it plans to double the size of its operations staff to 100 by the end of February.

"We applaud and respect Dallas for welcoming innovative, technology-based transportation, paving the way as a leader for other cities to follow," the company said in an email to the Observer. "We welcome the letter as an opportunity to examine both the successes and the challenges of dockless bike-share experiencing such rapid growth."

The city plans to meet with the companies next week to discuss Broadnax's letter.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young