Regulations on bike sharing set for public hearing

An ordinance that anticipates the next evolution of Minneapolis’ bike-share program — so-called “dockless” bike sharing — is set for an April 17 public hearing.

City Council Member Kevin Reich (Ward 1), the author of the proposed ordinance, said it was intended to “tee up a framework for a whole new generation of shared bike facilities” and ensure the city could manage the service “on its own terms.”

Nice Ride Minnesota operates a fleet of more than 1,800 neon green bikes that can be rented from any of 200-plus stations located in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Last year, it announced plans to add a new dockless bike-share program. Instead of being rented and returned to a station, the dockless bikes can be tracked-down with an app and left in any approved parking area.

Reich said his ordinance sets licensing requirements for bike-share operators meant to manage some of the issues that come with a dockless system, including bikes left in clusters near popular destinations, where they can clog the public right of way and block access to local businesses. He said it would be up to the dockless system’s operator to track the location of its bikes and prevent clustering.

The ordinance would also make clear that most bicycle racks are reserved for non-bike-share bicycles and set out a process for identifying and impounding illegally parked dockless bike-share bikes.