Councils win as bike share operators to be held to account
Friday, 21 September 2018
Inner West Council has welcomed a new Bill that gives councils the power to fine bike share operators that fail to properly manage abandoned bikes.
The Bill, which was put to Parliament this week by the NSW Minister for Transport, is based on the guidelines and proposals initiated by Inner West Council and six other Sydney Metro Councils to properly regulate commercial bike share.
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said that the amendment to the Impounding Act puts councils and the community in a much stronger position to force bike share operators to clean up their act.
“Finally, all NSW councils will have the power to slap a meaningful fine on operators if their bikes are causing safety issues,” he said.
“Until now operators couldn’t be bothered picking up impounded bikes, because the bikes are worth less than the measly impounding fees. This leaves Council and the community to bear the cost of storing and disposing of, or recycling the bikes.
“For many months we have been calling on Minister Constance to introduce meaningful penalties and I thank him for taking up our proposal.
“Meaningful fines will give Councils the stick we need to force operators to act in the public interest.”
The new fines will range from $500 to a maximum of $2,750. Previously the cost for operators retrieving bikes from Inner West Council could be as little as $89.
The new Bill also firmly places the responsibility for abandoned bikes with the operators.
“Up until now, operators have been hiding behind the bike users, blaming them for the glut of abandoned bikes,” said Mayor Byrne.
“The new amendments make it clear that the Operators are wholly responsible for bikes left lying around and must pick them up and return them to safe and useable locations.”
In introducing the Bill, the Minister also recognised the strong lead set by Inner West Council, together with Woollahra, Waverley, City of Sydney, Randwick City and City of Canada Bay Councils, in taking the initiative and developing guidelines for Bike Share operators.
“The Minister has made it clear that any code of practice developed under the bill will build on the voluntary guidelines developed by inner city councils,” said Mayor Byrne.
“We want to see share transport work in Australia, but at can never be at the cost of safety and amenity of other footpath and road users.”
For further information, please contact Kate Walsh on 9392 5685.