May 30th, 2018
A new stationless bike scheme was launched in Dublin this morning, with 200 bikes launched immediately.
Licenses were granted to two companies, Urbo and Bleeperbike, who will operate the new scheme. Increases in the number of bikes available are planned, with reviews on a monthly basis.
The bikes are designed to be used in the city centre and outer suburban areas. The bikes are unlocked by an app and do not have to be returned to docking stations as they can be locked to official bike stands.
Dick Brady, Assistant Chief Executive of the Environment and Transportation Department at Dublin City Council, said that shifts to sustainable transport options are a “vital element” in the Council’s traffic management and “climate change strategies”.
“It’s a great enhancement for cycling choice for citizens” Mr Brady told The Green News.
He added that public acceptance is an issue to expanding bike schemes in Dublin as “you may have to impinge on other road services” to accommodate bike infrastructure.
Bleeperbike had stationless bikes in Dublin in 2017, but they were removed by Dublin City Council as they were unlicensed.
New bye-laws were introduced in December 2017 to manage and control the operation of stationless bikes in the city. Bikes will be removed by the Council if they are not locked to an official stand.
Bleeperbike now already had stationless bikes in South Dublin and some universities.
The CEO of Bleeperbike, Hugh Cooney, said that the bikes have cable locks that have to be attached to official bike stands, and GPS so they can be tracked down if stolen.
Mr Cooney feels that vandalism is a bigger risk than bikes being stolen. “You can never anticipate if there will be vandalism. It can be frustrating.”
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, there have been no issues yet,” Mr Cooney added.
Green Party Councillor Ciaran Cuffe told The Green News that the app tells users how far they can go and where they can park. “We don’t want them obstructing footpaths or roads,” Cllr Cuffe said.
Cyclists on the Rise
The number of cyclists in Dublin has been on the rise in recent years, with almost 12,500 cyclists entering the city during peak morning hours in 2017, according to the National Transport Authority’s Canal Cordon Report 2017.
Despite this increase, government spending on cycling infrastructure dropped from almost €19 million in 2015 to €7 million in 2017.
Cllr Cuffe hopes that the new stationless scheme will help increase funding in the future, adding that he has been left “frustrated” at the current lack of funding. “We need more segregated bike lanes in the city, it works abroad.” Cllr Cuffe said.
Dublin City Council has added 1,300 extra cycle parking spaces in recent months and aims to add more in the future for own-bike users and bike hire users.