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Hopes ride on built-in measures to ensure success of imminent six-month bike share trial

Lachlan Roberts 16 July 2018 28

The Australian-owned company Airbike will release a fleet of 200 dockless bikes in Canberra at the end of the month. Photos: Supplied by Airbike.

The nation’s capital is set for its first bike share program with a six-month dockless trial to start in the heart of the city in the coming weeks.

ACT Transport and City Services Minister Mick Gentleman announced that the trial would start on 30 July, with the Australian-owned company Airbike to release a fleet of 200 dockless bikes at the end of the month.

The trial area will cover the city centre, ANU’s campus and the Parliamentary Zone, with the bikes available for return or one-way trips without having to be returned to a docking station. It is currently unclear how the bikes will be contained within the trial area.

Mr Gentleman said the new bike share program would provide Canberrans and visitors with a new convenient and eco-friendly means of transportation and he hoped the scheme would encourage locals and tourists to live a more healthy and active lifestyle.

Dockless bike share schemes, where bikes can be picked up and dropped off anywhere, have been operating in other states but there have been issues with dumped bikes cluttering paths and streets.

Mr Gentleman addressed concerns about the dockless bike scheme after Sydney’s and Melbourne’s struggles with the program, saying the Airbike team will closely monitor use and immediately move any bikes parked inappropriately.

Mr Gentleman believes with dedicated bike parking zones, geo-fencing technologies and Airbike’s commitment to moving bikes as necessary, the trial will greatly benefit Canberrans.

“The trial seeks to establish a successful bike share scheme in the ACT which contributes to positioning Canberra as Australia’s cycling capital, is integrated with public transport, and provides a genuine transport option meeting the particular needs and preferences of Canberrans,” Mr Gentleman said.

Under new Government guidelines introduced last year, dockless bike share operators in the ACT will have to provide GPS tracking for all bikes and employ enough staff to ensure they can be recovered quickly if discarded in Canberra streets.

The guidelines say each bike “should be equipped with GPS functionality to enable service providers to easily identify and take action to ensure an appropriate balance of bikes across the catchment network”.

The ACT Government believes the bike share scheme can ease traffic congestion, parking issues, meet sustainability goals in these areas as well as provide a “pleasant and timely way” to move between the national institutions.

National Capital Authority Chief Sally Barnes said the NCA welcomed the trial.

“We are optimistic that users will respect the cultural and symbolic significance of these areas by parking responsibly using existing, designated parking,” she said.

“Bike share offers a wonderful opportunity for Canberra residents and visitors to experience our cultural institutions and sites of national significance within the Parliamentary Zone and Lake Burley Griffin foreshore.”

Airbike, the first Australian-owned and operated dockless bike-sharing platform, uses a smartphone app to show the nearest available bike and allows the cyclist to unlock or lock the bike.

For more information about the trial and the guidelines for dockless bike share, visit the Transport Canberra website.

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28 Responses to Hopes ride on built-in measures to ensure success of imminent six-month bike share trial
Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 7:17 pm 16 Jul 18

Sydney and Melbourne just dumped this and the companies have gone broke. Just what we need in Canberra, another waste of money.

    Lynne Audsley Lynne Audsley 8:24 pm 16 Jul 18

    Exactly, and they are being up dumped everywhere - I hardly think Canberra will be any different, seeing we still find trolleys dumped in our various lakes. Looks like very little research has been done, as usual.

    May Day May Day 8:27 pm 16 Jul 18

    Hahaha ... Canberra is so dumb right now..maybe we should buy a monorail while we’re at it... oh... wait ...

Veronika Sain Veronika Sain 7:40 pm 16 Jul 18

So basically a tourist bike hire type of thing but with automated release aimed at able bodied people who aren’t carrying anything heavier than a handbag. It won’t solve any parking issues in the centre.

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 7:46 pm 16 Jul 18

They have been rubbish everywhere else. The definition of crazy is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. They need to be docked.

Michael Babb Michael Babb 8:19 pm 16 Jul 18

178 to end up in the lake, 22 in cash converters 😂

Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 8:26 pm 16 Jul 18

Zero degrees at 10am in winter. Yeah, perfect cycling weather for the occasional cyclist.. not.

Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 8:50 pm 16 Jul 18

If it’s anything like the Ofo scheme where I am it’ll be less than a year before they’re wrecked and dumped all over the place. So, no, I would say not, especially as it will mean someone wandering around with helmet in hand to look for one. If anything I’d rather have the docked scheme like Boris’ bikes in London, they work very well.

Stephen Pascoe Stephen Pascoe 8:52 pm 16 Jul 18

Headline at the end of 6 month trial “150 share bikes fished out of Lake Burley Griffin”.

The ‘dockless’ model doesn’t work - this has already been proven in Sydney & Melbourne..

Ben Jones Ben Jones 9:00 pm 16 Jul 18

Suzanne Tunks Suzanne Tunks 9:38 pm 16 Jul 18

London has an awesome scheme that is very well utilised and the bikes are all parked in special bays in key pick up/drop off areas. I think it's a great idea and that a lot of smart and healthy Canberrans would make good use of it, especially if they are docked 😊

Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 9:44 pm 16 Jul 18

How did this happen? Did someone let the work experience kid make this decision? 8 months of the year it is either too hot or too cold to ride in Canberra. Anyone who wants to ride has a bike!

Jen Dee Jen Dee 9:49 pm 16 Jul 18

Bike share would be great for people with no kids

Danielle Smith Danielle Smith 10:10 pm 16 Jul 18

Didn't work in other states, doubt it will here either

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 10:30 pm 16 Jul 18

How will the compulsory bike helmets be managed?

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:57 am 17 Jul 18

    They are usually placed on the riders’ heads.

Jack Stafford Jack Stafford 10:31 pm 16 Jul 18

Maybe everyone should stop getting angry at the government + companies providing the bikes and just be responsible with them?

Shawn McIntyre Shawn McIntyre 10:34 pm 16 Jul 18

Clever. Uses an app to find the nearest bike and to unlock and lock it. Harry McIntyre Grace McIntyre Poppy Longsocks

Magarac Singh Magarac Singh 11:35 pm 16 Jul 18

What a great idea. They’ve clearly worked in other cities 🤬

Alan Rose Alan Rose 6:57 am 17 Jul 18

So what about helmets? It is a requirement to wear one. I don’t think there is a one size fits all. If I have to bring my own I might as well bring my own bike

Mirabai Rose Mirabai Rose 7:24 am 17 Jul 18


Anohs Llihpmeh Anohs Llihpmeh 8:04 am 17 Jul 18

If it was done properly it could be great. No oversupply/competing companies, absolute accountability of where the bikes are/their security and I would use for our visitors as Canberra is a cycling gem.

Raynie McNee Raynie McNee 8:23 am 17 Jul 18

If it works, great. If they are left abandoned like other cities and the company fined $3000 per bike, brilliant revenue raising strategy by our government 😂

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