Canberra is experiencing a quiet transport revolution. More people are using bikes and still more people want to use bikes. Many young people are rethinking whether private car ownership is for them. Given the distances many of us travel, we can't imagine cycling the whole way.
Bike share is ideal for short, spontaneous and convenient one-way trips without an obligatory return journey. Bike share complements public transport and car share to make city precincts more accessible, extend the public transport catchment and make Canberrans less car dependant.
Transport Canberra and City Services is working with the National Capital Authority, the Australian National University and Australian-owned company Airbike to support a six-month trial of dockless bike share, commencing 30 July 2018.
Transport Canberra and City Services supports this trial, as it complements a number of initiatives which encourage residents and visitors to live a more healthy and active lifestyle and to use public transport. The trial seeks to establish a successful bike share scheme in the ACT, via a partnership between the ACT Government and the provider which contributes to positioning Canberra as Australia's cycling capital, provides an innovative approach to urban mobility, is integrated with public transport, and which provides a genuine transport option, meeting the particular needs and preferences of Canberrans.
The Airbike smartphone app can be used to locate, book, navigate and park bikes. A number of bike share parking sites have been identified and marked throughout the trial area to allow for convenient collection and drop off of bikes.
Bike share works when the operator, the government and the community all work together.
TCCS will provide bike share parking and Airbike has all these locations in their user app. Everyone is working together to make sure bikes are where they are needed and not where they are in the way.
Use the identified bike share parking bays if you can. If you must park somewhere else, just use common sense. It's easy. Just ask yourself 'is it in the way or can the next person use it?'. Think about people with mobility issues or vision impairments.
We have all seen the problems that have happened in some cities. This is a small trial with only 200 bikes so they need to be in places where people can access them.
Need some tips about considerate bike share parking?
There are a number of ways you can contact Airbike outside of the user app if you have any questions or need to report issues:
- Airbike website: https://airbike.network/say-hello/
- Facebook: @airbikeaus
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (02) 9009 5022
What is dockless bike share?
Dockless bike share is a system of bikes that can be used for short trips anywhere within a designated zone. Bikes are located, booked and unlocked via a user app. Once the journey is complete the user locates a suitable parking location and finishes their trip and locks the bike via the app. The bike is then ready for the next user.
Dockless bike share provides more flexibility than docked systems where bikes need to be returned to a docking station. Dockless bike share schemes have proven a very effective element of integrated transport systems worldwide, providing more flexibility for short trips, in conjunction with public transport.
It's easy, when you park your bike, ask yourself 'is it in the way' keeping in mind the impact that it may have on people with mobility issues or vision impairments
Make use of the designated parking areas, or park next to existing bike parking racks.
It's common sense, but here's a few parking tips to keep share bikes organised:
- Don't park within a public road, driveway, public/shared path, traffic islands, median strip, and car parking bays (including loading zones, disabled zones etc.).
- Don't park across visually impaired pedestrian tactile marks
- Do park at least 10m back from the hold-line at any road intersection, roundabout, traffic island or median strip, and pedestrian crossings.
- Park 5m away from a bus stop shelter, marker post, steps, ramps, public toilets, building access points etc.
- Do park within a designated area when parking at the Civic bus interchange
- Do park 1.5m away from any building line / wall that is within a public place
- Do park 1.5m away from the road kerb unless it within a designated parking bay
- If parking in a public thoroughfare, do make sure there is 2m clearance so people can move through the space
- Do always observe street signs and line markings
Why dockless over docking station bikes?
Dockless bike share provides more flexibility, especially in conjunction with public transport compared to docked systems where bikes need to be returned to a docking station. The six-month trial will test if dockless bike share is a suitable model for Canberra.
If it is dockless, why are there bike share parking locations?
Evidence shows when cities provide bike parking, people generally use it, as they do for parking cars, or privately owned bikes. This helps maintain public amenity and community support for bike share.
All the bikes in the Airbike fleet have kickstands, so people should avoid using existing bike racks, but can park bikes next to them.
The ACT Government has identified bike share parking locations across the trial area in central Canberra. These can be located through Airbike's user app or on-ground by looking for the Bike Share signage.
Riding in the Parliamentary Zone or around Lake Burley Griffin? The Airbike app will indicate what existing bike racks should be used when you have finished your journey.
When will bike share be available in Canberra?
From 30 July 2018 Canberra host a six month trial of dockless bike share.
Why is the ACT Government undertaking a bike share trial?
The ACT Government has observed, with interest, the different approaches to bike share in Australian jurisdictions and overseas. We believe the best way to introduce bike share in Canberra is through a staged approach, testing to see what works and what doesn’t so that we get it right.
At the end of the trial, the partners in the trial will evaluate the operation and decide whether it can offer value to the Canberra community and to visitors alike.
Bike share is an essential part of the ACT Government's goal to be Australia's cycling capital. The ACT Government supports activities that enhance Canberra's cycling culture and help achieve its mode share target of 7% of journeys to work being undertaken by bike by 2026.
Who are the partners in the bike share trial?
The ACT Government is working with land managers from the National Capital Authority, the Australian University and Australian-owned, Sydney based company, Airbike. And most importantly, Canberra residents and visitors, who are encouraged to use the system and share their experience. Everyone should have a stake in the trial's success.
Why is Canberra getting bike share when it has created such problems in other cities?
Canberra has been watching and learning from the experience in other cities in Australia and overseas. The evidence shows that residents feel a greater sense of ownership of the scheme when cities work cooperatively with providers.
We are trialling a model that reflects the needs and preferences of Canberrans, this includes the staged introduction of a small fleet of bikes in a small operational area.
Will these bikes be left in trees and block footpaths?
Inevitably yes, there will be some people who do the wrong thing, as they do in cars, on buses and with privately owned bikes. However, unlike individually owned bikes that have been abandoned, Airbike's fleet are easily identifiable and traceable through patented 3G technology. Airbike takes a genuine interest in maintaining its fleet of bikes and making sure they are in good condition and where people need them.
All trial partners are working together to educate users to park bikes responsibly and have agreed to strict but achievable recovery times that the provider must meet for inappropriately placed bikes.
Evidence shows that cities that work cooperatively with providers see less vandalism and irresponsible behaviour. The trial partners are confident that Canberrans are proud of their city and will generally try to do the right thing.
What can the community expect from Airbike if bikes are in unsafe / inappropriate locations?
Nobody, not least Airbike, wants to see bikes left in the wrong place where it may cause injury, reduce access (particularly for people with mobility issues), where it impinges on places of national or cultural significance, is in danger of being damaged or where it is not being fully utilised. That said, an unused bike doesn't necessarily need moving, it may just be waiting for the next rider. Airbike has agreed to move bikes depending on the level of harm caused, but we encourage people to be clear about the harm the bike is causing/ may cause before asking Airbike to relocate it. Keep in mind that it is in Airbike's interest to have every bike in their small fleet, in good condition, where people can use them. This is the fundamental difference between the Canberra trial and cities where the number of bikes on the street meant they were not valued by the providers.
What do I do if I see a bike that is damaged or in the wrong place?
Let Airbike know. They will respond within agreed times, depending on the severity of the situation. With a limited number of bikes in service, they want to make sure they are in good condition and where people can use them.
Who collects the bikes? Is this at a cost of taxpayer's money?
Airbike are responsible for monitoring and rebalancing the fleet. Airbike have agreed to terms within a land use permit for the management of the fleet, this includes fines and fees for the retrieval of bikes if Airbike does not meet the response times. Sanctions in the permit are on a cost recovery basis.
What financial contribution is the ACT government making?
The ACT Government will cover the cost of land use regulation, including waiver of the permit fee, and will provide signs for the preferred parking locations. Airbike, as an independent commercial operator, will cover all operational costs, including management of the bicycle fleet and marketing.
What happens when a bike is cycled outside the operational zone? Do the wheels just stop suddenly?!
Once a bike leaves the trial zone Airbike's operational team is notified and will monitor the location of the bike through their geolocation technology (don't worry, you can keep cycling!). Users are encouraged to bring the bike back into the trial zone so there are adequate numbers, but Airbike will collect them if they are not being used.
Can you take bikes on buses?
Users are discouraged from taking bikes out of the trial zone unless they plan to bring them back in again. With only 200 bikes in the trial there are not enough for them to be dispersed all over Canberra. If users do take bikes on short bus trips, we ask that no items are left in the baskets - this can obstruct the bus driver's vision and your items can fly out!
How much does it cost to use?
A single trip costs $1.30 for every 30 mins. Your ride time will start after you unlock your bike. The timer will reset once the bike has been locked. Fares are based on the duration you use the bike.
Do I have to wear a helmet and is a helmet provided?
Yes, helmet laws apply equally to people using bike share schemes. Airbike provides helmets with each bike, helmets lock and unlock from the bike lock mechanism.
What are the features of the trial?
- 200 bikes
- The trail area includes the Australian National University, city centre, and the Parliamentary zone
- Geofencing of the trial area and geolocation of bikes
- Daily rebalancing of bikes
- Regulation using land-use permit and a memorandum of understanding between the ACT Government and Airbike and a strong cooperative relationship
- An evaluation at the end of the trial will determine whether and in what form dockless bike share could be developed in the longer term
The ACT Government has issued Guidelines for dockless bike share to help potential service providers understand local requirements.
The ACT Government has used these guidelines as a basis to establish the permit conditions for the trial.