The Dallas City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that set rules for bike share companies and established a pilot program for electric scooters, ending months of debate and deliberation over the topic.
The new law will require bike share companies to obtain a permit from the city. It also establishes a time frame in which bikes must be picked up -- within two hours if the city receives a 311 complaint and two days if a bike is left in a residential area. If companies don’t comply they could have their permit revoked.
Dallas has received roughly 3,200 complaints about bikes since last September but city officials hope increased oversight will put an end to most of the issues.
“If they have made the case time and time again that they are not addressing the issues, [and] that they are not doing what we're asking them to do and not complying with the ordinance, then we can start fining them,” Dallas Bicycle Transportation Manager Jared White said.
Also passed was a pilot program for electric scooters. It will last six months and two bike share companies have said they each plan to put 500 scooters in the city. The ordinance states that the scooters will not be able to be used on sidewalks in Deep Ellum or within downtown Dallas.
Officials with the bike share companies think the lessons they’ve learned from the bike share program will ensure that the scooter rollout will go smoothly.
“We've learned a lot over the past 10 months we've been in Dallas and we learn every day,” LimeBike Dallas Operations Manager Jeff Roberts said. “We learn something new and we learn how to operate better.”
There is no shortage of opinions on the rental bikes you see no shortage of in Dallas.
"I don't see why they'd expand the program to scooters right now," said resident Jonathan Jones. "They don't have any control over the bikes themselves."
"There's too many cars on the street nowadays, especially with all these new corporations coming to town," said resident Rafael Villegas. "It's like getting overpopulated. So it's great because it's an alternative to driving."
Companies haven’t announced when the scooters will hit the streets, but say it could be very soon.