The Plano City Council made its first legislative step to address bike sharing in Plano during Monday night’s City Council meeting. Yellow and green bikes from OFO, LimeBikes and VBikes have been seen all over downtown Plano and street corners across the city, receiving resident criticism. Through the council’s approval, bike share companies now have city regulations to keep bikes from being left abandoned, in piles or blocking city sidewalks and crosswalks.
According to the ordinance, bike sharing bicycles can only be parked on the sidewalk – hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt – and cannot be parked on sidewalk corners, near crosswalks or on curb ramps. Bikes in residential areas can remain parked for 48 hours, as long as they don’t impede sidewalks or pedestrian walkways. Inoperable bicycles must be removed up to 24 hours after notice.
If residents see a bike parked illegally or within a right-of-way, they are advised to call the number or email the address listed on each bike so the company can respond. Companies have two hours after notice to respond to complaints, 10 hours on state and federal holidays and weekends.
City Manager Bruce Glasscock advised residents to report complaints to the bike companies instead of the city because they’re more likely to get a quicker response from the company.
Any company’s bike share permit can be terminated with 30 days notice. This bike share ordinance will be a pilot program until December. At the end of the pilot period, the city will re-evaluate its bike sharing ordinance and future regulations. Resident feedback will be necessary during this pilot period, Glasscock said.
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Grady said Monday his greatest concern was the permit would burden city resources. Though it’s designed to keep bike companies in line, bad user behavior may really be the root of the problem, he said.
“We can tell the providers of the bikes that you need to park them at certain spaces, but it’s the users that seem to be of issue when I observe them scattered throughout the city,” Grady said. “I know this is all new and I also know it’s somewhat experimental for this first go around, but do we feel that it’s going to be overburdensome to our own staff to try to regulate these?”
Peter Braster, special projects manager, said that before the ordinance was brought to council, it was peer-reviewed by other city governments and bike sharing companies who all found it reasonable. Moving forward, Braster said the city is asking these bike share companies to further educate users on where to park the bikes and other best practices so sidewalks and walkways can remain clear of bikes.
The ordinance passed unanimously.