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Harsh warning to rental bike firms



THE WAR against dockless rental bikes in Sydney has reached a tipping point, with the city giving operators three months to lift their game or face the consequences.

Mayors from all of Sydney’s six councils — City of Sydney, Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra, Inner West and Canada Bay — attended a meeting to discuss how to deal with growing concerns about GPS tracked rental bikes being dumped across the city.

Inner West Mayor Cr Darcy Byrne called a meeting, but suggested following Melbourne’s solution of impounding rogue bikes was not the solution.

“They appear relatively cheap to produce and they seem to be able to lose a few, so the operators don’t seem that concerned about keeping ownership of the bikes,” he told Business Insider.

“We probably have the power to impound bikes but that comes at a cost to ratepayers.”

Cr Byrne said he was supportive of the overall concept, although admits the current haphazard dispersal of bikes on local streets can’t go on.



“We are offering a carrot and stick approach to operators, and we expect them to collaborate with us immediately to clean up the schemes so that punitive action is not required.”

The Inner West Mayor said he always had doubts about the success of bike sharing schemes given the city’s hilly topography, lack of density and helmet laws.

And while he is happy to see companies trying to get the concept off the ground, he thinks there needs to be more control from the councils and operators.

“The way they’ve established themselves in whacking down thousands of bikes and this needs to be fixed so they’re not creating public safety issues,” he said.

“We need a joint regulatory approach and don’t want to strangle the sector in red tape from six different councils, so we’re offering operators united set of guidelines and giving them three months to lift standards and clean up their act.”

Cr Byrne added he would like to see bike operators legally responsible for any liability issues about where the bikes are left.

A review early next year will explore how well the rental bike operators have improved the service.



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