Green and yellow LimeBikes, yellow Ofo, orange and silver Mobikes, dockless bikes by whatever color or name they go by are not welcome in Coronado. What may seem like a good idea is turning into a nightmare. Merchants in the city of San Diego are seeking a temporary ban on the bicycles according to an article published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on March 13. The bikes are everywhere in Imperial Beach and have begun to migrate to Coronado. Bikes were at the head of Coronado Cays today as well as up and down Orange Avenue with no “renters” to be found. Bikes left abandoned.
Coronado’s City Manager, Blair King, in last week’s update says, “Despite not having permission to conduct business on public property in Coronado, a number of app-rented dockless bikes have appeared in the City. City Hall has received numerous communications from residents regarding the bikes. City staff is contacting the dockless bike companies, such as LimeBike and Ofo, to request that the bikes be removed from public rights-of-way. The City will step-up enforcement if the bikes continue to appear on public property and are not claimed by their owners.”
According to Lea Corbin of Coronado Police Department, “As of today, we are marking the bikes as we would any other bike with 72-hour warning notices. We then call the company to advise of the 72-hour warning notice. If the bikes are not moved within 72 hours they are then removed for safe keeping. We have only done this once, about two months ago. If the bicycles are in the public right-away, they are moved to a safe location such as off the sidewalk or out of the street or driveway.”
Mayor Richard Bailey is quoted as saying, “The City is proactively contacting the various dockless bike vendors to inform them of our policies and requesting they pick up their bikes immediately. Failure to respond in a timely manner may result in bikes being impounded.” I asked what is considered a timely manner and his response was, “We are still in the process of formalizing a policy for staff to follow, however it will likely be within 24 hours of notification.”
So as it stands now, the bikes can’t be removed for at least 72 hours and then when they are moved, they will be kept with the other bikes impounded at the police department. That could fill up quickly. There has been talk about sign pollution on the island, the proliferation of these bikes make signs seem invisible. Not only is their clutter unsightly, the placements of abandoned bikes oftentimes impedes pedestrian traffic.
The bikes are coming into Coronado, whether on the ferry, riding up the Strand, or, as some suspect, being dropped off by the corporate companies. Once here, they remain in place, available to be a transportation option to get from point a to point b by unlocking with an app on a smart phone. The biggest issue, from visuals around town, to comments on social media, seems to be simple common courtesy by the riders who get off the bike and choose (or don’t give a thought to) where they park it. When it’s your own personal bike, you find a safe, secure spot, out of harm’s way and traffic (pedestrian and vehicle), and you lock it. Is it the lack of accountability/ownership that causes riders to abandon their manners and just leave these dockless rental bikes in front of doors, in the middle of sidewalks, on residential walkways where they’d most likely never park their personal bike?
The City Council will be discussing dockless bicycle issues at its meeting on March 20.