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Dockless Bike Share

Several dockless bike share companies intend to enter the Boulder market in the immediate future. To ensure dockless bike sharing supports public welfare and the city's transportation goals, the City Council approved Emergency Ordinance 8246 pdf on June 12, 2018 and the City Manager Rules pdf. This ordinance launches a pilot program for dockless bike sharing, ending Aug. 7, 2020, and outlines operating rules for dockless bike share companies in Boulder.

The development of the ordinance was based on feedback gathered during a Transportation Advisory Board public hearing held on April 9, 2018 (meeting minutes pdf).

What is dockless bike sharing?

Dockless bike share is a system where people can rent bikes without having to check them in or out of an established docking facility. Bikes are instead spread throughout town, and can be rented wherever they are found by using a smartphone app or digital screen located on the bike. Then, once an individual is done riding a bike, they park it in a permitted zone at their location and check it out using the digital system to make the bike available to others.

What are the benefits of dockless bike sharing?

Dockless bike shares make it easier for people to bike to work, school or simply for fun and exercise because they do not have to travel to a fixed docking facility to retrieve or return bikes. Dockless bike sharing supports the mobility goals outlined in the city's Transportation Master Plan, as it makes bicycling more convenient, helps fill in gaps in Boulder's existing transportation network and supports the reduction of greenhouse gases through increased bike travel.

How does the city plan to avoid potential negative impacts of dockless bike sharing?

Ordinance 8246 includes rules to prevent potential negative impacts of dockless bike sharing, such as bikes left on private property or piled on sidewalks.

Under the ordinance, dockless bike share companies must:

  • Initially deploy no more than 100 bicycles.
  • Equip all bicycles with a locking mechanism that enables the bikes to be locked to fixed structures.
  • Include e-bikes in their fleets.

Shared bicycles may also only be parked in bicycle racks, designated bicycle parking areas or on private property with the consent of the property owner.

Next steps

The City of Boulder will be accepting dockless bike share applications in August 2018. Please check back later for full application details.

More information

Read Ordinance 8246 pdf, view the Dockless E-Bike Regulatory Framework, and view staff's presentation pdf to City Council on the dockless bike share licensing program. 

For more information, please contact David Kemp, Senior Transportation Planner, at 303-441-1955 or [email protected].