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Dockless bikes invade Hillcrest

LimeBikes are now available in Hillcrest.
Photo credit:
Hillcrest Business Association

Maybe you have seen more color around Hillcrest lately in the form of bright green bicycles. Those are LimeBikes and they are a fleet of dockless bicycles which you can access by downloading an app on your smartphone.

Dockless means that riders, when finished peddling around the community, can park them anywhere, preferably out of the pedestrian right of way. 

This service joins another one of its unharnessed ilk called Ofo.

Before LimeBike and Ofo it was DecoBike, a stationed model, it was the most recognized bike ride-sharing service throughout the city. In fact, San Diego has an exclusive contract through 2023 with that company.

However, the agreement doesn’t forbid any other ridesharing bicycle service from competing against DecoBike, it merely states the city will help them promote DecoBike and assist in increasing their ridership which it desperately needs. But unlike their unbridled counterpart, you need to place them back in designated racks. 

Enter LimeBike and Ofo which were first introduced in National City and Imperial Beach. They have made their way to Hillcrest and some pedestrians although excited about the new service are concerned that dockless may mean careless too. 

In a recent social media post from the Hillcrest Business Association, they say they have observed numerous bikes cluttering pedestrian right-of-ways. 

"Dockless bikes are already raising concerns among residents and business owners. Several bikes had to be moved and cleared from the sidewalks to allow a four foot clearance between the bikes and other obstructions to allow people in a wheelchair to safely pass through."

We reached out to the Hillcrest Business Association's Executive Director, Benjamin Nicholls to ask about his stance on the service.

He says he supports alternative transportation projects such as dockless bicycles but adds he doesn't want them to become a nuisance to people on the sidewalk. 

"As long as the riders of the bikes and the managers of the bike share programs make sure they don't block access around the neighborhood and obey traffic laws, we don't have a problem with them," said Nicholls. 

Both LimeBike and Ofo have guidelines for storing the bikes after usage. Both companies say not to leave the bikes on the sidewalk, in the middle of driveways, block wheelchair paths or leave them at bus stops. 

Ofo adds in their guidelines, "NEVER park ofo bicycles in a place that makes YOU the one who upsets the freedom and safety of other people."