Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The city of Dallas’ days of unregulated bike share ended when City Manager T.C. Broadnax sent the five existing bike-share companies in Dallas a letter reminding them of “operational expectations.”

In a memo to the City Council, Broadnax described the letter he sent to the companies, demanding that the nearly 20,000 rental bikes in Dallas remain in authorized locations and not block “the City’s right of ways, sidewalks, trails and/or trailheads.”

Broadnax said the five bike-share companies have until Feb. 5 to comply with the policy. Bikes considered to be a hazard, he said, will be collected and kept at a central location for retrieval by the companies, like a bike jail. He also noted a sixth company, U-Bicycle, is eyeing the Dallas market.

Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News reported that Broadnax’s letter to the companies said bikes must be removed from any sidewalk that is less than 10 feet wide and cannot block sidewalk curb ramps. The bikes also must be removed from grass, landscaping or other natural surfaces, which is where many sit around White Rock Lake.

The new demands are not quite Highland Park level regulation, where any abandoned bike will be impounded and fees will be charged to the companies, but they are a significant shift from the current wild-west state of bike share.

The Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure and Sustainability Council Committee will meet in late February or early March to discuss the first six months of bike share in Dallas and make recommendations about how to move froward.

Wilonsky reported that City of Dallas Bicycle Transportation Manager Jared White said that Dallas will probably limit the number of bikes that can be in any part of the city and charge the companies a fee to operate.

The bike-share debate was on full display in a now-deleted tweet where LimeBike blamed Dallas citizens for the bike clutter after a Katy Trail user posted a picture of the green bikes turned upside down.

Bike share has been a tense subject over the last few months, with proponents noting that these are necessary growing pains for a city that is slowly becoming more bicycle friendly and opponents questioning the need and viability of these programs. A photo essay in The Dallas Morning News this week captured abandoned bike-share bicycles all over the city, but bike-share companies released data about bike usage that shows the bikes’ utility.

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