The North American Bikeshare Association created in January 2018 the first version of their model ordinance for dockless bikesharing. The organization emphasizes that the bikeshare holds the potential to increase a place’s livability and quality of life but that it is important to understand the goals of a bikeshare program and clearly outline the process and regulations.
The NABSA Dockless Bikeshare Regulation Preliminary Guidance, Version 1 has a set of recommended guidelines that fall under these categories:
- Permit or Request for Proposal: this is how the city decides to allow launch of such a system, whether by market forces or procurement. How a city regulates its other right-of-way uses might have a large effect on this decision.
- Service area: some cities geofence the service area; this can also be tied to the equity piece, below.
- Fleet Size: ordinances typically establish a minimum, to achieve a network effect. NABSA recommends against a maximum before study can be made of adoption by users.
- Parking: does the city’s “furniture” zone accommodate bike parking along with discussing ADA requirements and how requirements are communicated to users?
- Equipment: outlines a set of minimum standards for bicycles.
- Pedal-Assist/E-bike Specifications: If using e-bikes, regulations are similar to non-assisted bicycles but should also consider maximum speed requirements and helmet requirements.
- Signage and Advertising: require logo on a bicycle, unique bicycle ID and 24 hour customer service number on each bicycle.
- Maintenance and Operations: minimum standards for vehicle upkeep and, for the latter especially, customer service.
- Equitable Bikeshare: community engagement, rebalancing, payment options, etc.
- Insurance and Indemnity: the NABSA guidelines recommend, among other things, a minimum of $1,000,000 general liability per occurrence. The bikeshare operator must also indemnify the city and all related staff and officials.
- Open Data: lists GBFS fields that should be shared.
- Reporting: the guidelines recommend that cities require monthly reporting and specifies what should be considered, such as the number of bikes in service, usage data, maintenance activities, and rebalancing efforts.
Additionally, jurisdictions such as Chicago are requiring operators to belong to NABSA, and follow its Code of Conduct.
Updated May 2018
Source: The NABSA Dockless Bikeshare Regulation Preliminary Guidance, Version 1. January 2018.