Tack­ling oBike clut­ter

Herald Sun - - OPINION -

MORE than 50 oBikes have been fished out of the Yarra River since their in­tro­duc­tion to Mel­bourne last year.

And ev­ery day, hun­dreds are left dumped on foot­paths, in parks, or by road­ways in the city’s cen­tral and in­ner-ur­ban ar­eas.

An arm wres­tle be­tween coun­cils and the An­drews gov­ern­ment over re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­sur­ing that the bike-share com­pany lifts its game, and bet­ter con­trols what hap­pens to its bikes, has lasted for months, even as an­other three op­er­a­tors of “dock­less” bike share schemes eye an en­try to the lo­cal mar­ket.

In Jan­uary, state gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Mar­tin Fo­ley called on coun­cils to be­gin fin­ing oBike man­age­ment for il­le­gal dump­ing, re­quir­ing the re­vo­ca­tion of agree­ments struck with three in­nercity coun­cils — Mel­bourne, Port Phillip and Yarra — which had os­ten­si­bly given the op­er­a­tor some im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion.

Re­turn­ing serve, coun­cils are now press­ing the gov­ern­ment to more tightly reg­u­late oBike-style schemes.

The City of Port Phillip’s Cr Dick Gross will call for an amend­ment to the Road Safety Act to con­trol how bikes are stored and to im­pose fines for non­com­pli­ance.

He said the agree­ment signed last year in which the three coun­cils had re­quired oBike to en­sure its bikes did not ob­struct foot­paths, were clear of traf­fic, and parked up­right, was a Band-Aid mea­sure.

But Mel­bur­ni­ans should also ques­tion the char­ac­ter of those of us who are will­ing to dis­card or trash the bikes. The van­dals and the dumpers must be pur­sued.

If the prob­lem per­sists, docks may be the only an­swer.

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