A dockless bike service has popped up overnight on Sydney’s streets.
The yellow fleet belongs to Obike: a private, Singapore-based company currently active in both Melbourne and Singapore. The company follows hot on the heels of Reddy Go, the red bicycle service which appeared in Sydney in mid-July.
Obike differs from Melbourne’s traditional bike service as it functions without docking stations. Instead, an app is used to register, find and unlock bicycles. It costs $1.99 to ride for half an hour, and each bike is equipped with a helmet. Increased usage of the service could potentially decrease road traffic, decrease emissions, and increase the visibility and safety of Sydney’s slowly blossoming bicycle network.
Of course, increased usage of app-based bike services could also potentially decrease work for those mechanics making and mending take-home bikes for the Inner West community.
Cycling is a great way to get around, to keep fit, save money and help the environment at the same time. The Inner West is a particularly pleasant place to ride, featuring many tree lined streets and some bike paths. Leichhardt council is making cycling easier by creating a network of bicycle routes and, where possible, making streets more bike friendly. It is now possible to access maps and routes of bicycle paths on council websites.
Unfortunately, Sydney’s roads are still daunting for many riders, with the 2016 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans reportedly stating he was intimated by Sydney’s roads and didn’t ride while he was in the city.
Obike has already caused controversy in Melbourne, where users have continually dumped bicycles in inappropriate places such as up a tree, in the Yarra, and on a portaloo. Melbourne mayor Robert Doyle put the company on notice last month, because the bikes were causing public obstruction and cluttering the streets.
Bicycle NSW said it welcomed the introduction of bike share schemes as a way to ‘try before you buy’ and encourage new riders.
Let’s hope bicycle dumping stays at a minimum, and more people take to two wheels!
Words by Lucia Moon