Aug 16, 2018
The Twin Cities’ docked system has a proposal to go dockless—without the chaos and sidewalk clutter.
Over the last year, dockless bikesharing has galloped into cities across the United States, swiftly doubling the number of shared bikes available on city streets. The GPS- and app-based technology these services use allows bikes to float around cities, into neighborhoods where bikeshare had never gone before, or where docked systems have failed to catch on. But the venture capital-backed bike invasions have also stoked anxiety over vandalism, bike clutter, and city regulations.
Since the first dockless pilots in the U.S. began, some companies have been acquired by ride-hailing companies or pivoted to e-scooters; others have beat a messy retreat. Meanwhile, their predecessors and quasi-rivals—docked bikeshare systems like New York City’s CitiBike and D.C. Capital Bikeshare—have been slow to expand their networks as they face the next challenge of reaching new riders.
Now a new pilot proposal in Minneapolis is attempting a hybrid between docked and dockless systems. The nonprofit Nice Ride MN wants to add 1,500 dockless bikes to its existing docked network. The key feature is a low-tech but intuitive fix for keeping free-range bikes under control: put down some damn parking spots.