Proposed Dockless Bike-Share Rules Rolled Out to Boise City Council 

The Boise City Council is poised to put dockless bike-share companies on a short leash should they decide to do business in the City of Trees.

On July 24, lawmakers heard from City Attorney Rob Luce about a possible set of ordinances that would transform a possible inundation of dockless bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters into an "opportunity." The Boise ordinances, inspired by cities like Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco, California; are what Luce described as the most elegant legal solutions to a thorny problem.

click to enlarge - LimeBike Director of Government Affairs and Strategic Development Gabriel Scheer delivered a presentation on his bike-share program to the Boise City Council on May 15. -  - BOISE CITY COUNCIL
  • Boise City Council
  • LimeBike Director of Government Affairs and Strategic Development Gabriel Scheer delivered a presentation on his bike-share program to the Boise City Council on May 15.
"What we have in front of you today, I think it's fair to say. is the best of the best in terms of regulations based on what we know today," said Luce.

The proposed regulations include a licensing program that creates floors and ceilings for the number of pieces of technology that could be deployed on city streets, whether they be bikes, e-bikes or scooters. The proposed rules would also limit e-scooters and e-bikes to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and a power output of no more than 300 watts.

The limits on how many dockless bikes could end up in Boise, however, is perhaps the most powerful part of the ordinance package. Under the proposed ordinance, companies would have to release at least 50 devices to operate in Boise, yet they we would be limited to 250 devices per licensee. The rule would also create a total cap of 750 devices.

That's a much lower number of devices than some companies had hoped. One dockless bike-share program currently mulling whether to enter the City of Boise expressed it would prefer to deploy a mix of 300 bikes and e-bikes, and an additional 900 e-scooters. Another company indicated that it would like to deploy one bike for every 100 citizens—approximately 2,200 bikes in all. Instead, Luce said, he took guidance from Boise GreenBike, which has a comparatively modest fleet size.

There was some concern that such an ordinance would deter some companies from doing business in Boise at all.

"Maybe these [maximums] are so low that nobody comes. I don't know," Luce said.

The Boise City Council is set to look at a final version of the ordinances at its Tuesday, Aug. 21, meeting.
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