Council removes Bleeper Bikes from streets of Dublin

Private company’s short-term bicycle rental scheme rolled out ‘prematurely’, says DCC

A Bleeper Bike parked at the Grand Canal dock area in Dublin early last week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A Bleeper Bike parked at the Grand Canal dock area in Dublin early last week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Dublin City Council confirmed it has removed bikes placed on the streets of the capital by a private company as part of a new short-term rental scheme.

Bleeper Bike, a service similar to the Dublin Bikes scheme but operating without dedicated bike stations, said it expected to roll out several hundred bikes starting last week.

The operators said they would introduce the bicycles despite strong warnings from the local authority that it could remove them from the streets.

Dublin City Council had issued a statement saying the launch of the scheme was “premature” and that it was likely such operators would have to apply for a licence under new bylaws.

The council confirmed it had removed “many” bikes from different locations around the city.

“A lot of complaints have been received regarding the bikes as have requests for the bikes to be removed,” the council said.

It said a meeting was planned between Bleeper Bike and the council’s offices early this week.

The Bleeper Bike service operates via mobile apps, which show the locations of the bicycles on the streets of the capital.

The council has said the launch of the scheme was happening without its consent and “in direct conflict” with the approach agreed at the May meeting of the council’s strategic transport policy committee.

It had been decided at that meeting that bylaws should be prepared and “engagement with the market” should take place, with a view to running a pilot bike scheme in the city.

The bylaws would likely require operators to apply for a licence to operate within the city and the launch of the scheme was “therefore premature”, pending the preparation of bylaws.

The council says it is empowered to remove the bikes from the public domain because it is an offence under Section 71 of the Roads Act 1993 to place unlicensed items in the public footpath/roadway.

Bleeper Bike could not be contacted for comment. However, chief executive Hugh Cooney said last week the company could not wait to go through the licensing procedures because it had secured a ‘first-mover’ advantage in the market.

A tweet from the company’s account last Thursday read: “sometimes you have to wait for the good things in life. We’re bleeping offline temporarily but will be back soon.”