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Lawmakers and Local Municipalities Search for Middle Ground on Bike Sharing Regulation

February 6th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
Bike Sharing companies are spreading throughout Florida. They allow users to take bikes for a spin after renting them from an app.
State Senator Dana Young is sponsoring Legislation seeking to regulate the companies.
She says the goal is to keep restrictions on the companies uniform throughout the state.

“A patchwork level of regulation just doesn’t work for the consumer or the companies operating the service,” said Young.

Cities and counties worry the Legislation would restrict their ability to oversee the companies in their jurisdictions. Jeff Branch with the Florida League of Cities says dockless bike shares have been problematic elsewhere, because they allow users to leave bikes almost anywhere.

“If you have a public sidewalk in front of your house, you could have 100 bikes sitting out there,” said Branch.

An amendment tagged on to the bill requires the companies to follow all local ordinances and remove any bikes parked unlawfully within 24 hours.
The companies would be fined $10 a day for each bike parked illegally.
J.R. Harding with the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology says removal should be required immediately so the bikes don’t block the paths of the disabled.

“One could not use the ramp. One might not be able to access a business,” said Harding

The Legislation allows for municipalities to ban bike sharing companies out right, but specifies if they allow one, they have to allow completion and treat them all the same. It also requires bicycle sharing companies to carry at least half a million dollars of liability insurance.
Cities and counties say while the bill is getting closer to something they would support, they’d prefer complete local control over the companies.

“What works for Tallahassee is not necessarily going to work for Miami-Dade or Orlando,” said Jennifer Laxner with the Florida Association of Counties.

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