Dockless Bikes

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The introduction of dockless electric scooters to Austin's streets has come with its share of growing pains. Nine months since they were first introduced, you can see hundreds of scooters parked on the side of the street — especially in Central Austin.

But what exactly are the rules for riding scooters in the City of Austin?

OjO Electric

Another dockless scooter company plans to enter the market in Austin – but its users will get to sit down.

OjO Electric, LLC, a California-based company, is launching the first sit-down electric scooter rideshare in the capital. One hundred scooters are expected to hit city streets by Feb. 1 and grow to 250 later in the spring.

Bike share company Ofo left an unwelcome parting gift as it exited the Dallas market: a heap of hundreds of its banana-yellow bikes. A photo of the massive pile went viral, prompting questions about who is responsible for the rental bikes — and the fate of similar bike-share ventures in other cities.

"Terrible," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a tweet that featured a photo by Robert Vandling, who spotted the tangle of bikes at a collection center run by CMC Recycling American.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Dockless vehicle providers now have rules for operating in Austin after a City Council vote early this morning, giving providers a framework to deploy dockless bikes and scooters legally by as soon as next week.

The unanimous vote rolls dockless vehicles into a city ordinance banning abandoned vehicles from blocking rights-of-way like sidewalks and sets up a framework to penalize dockless vehicles operating illegally in Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Jumping the gun works, it seems.

While city staff were devising a pilot program to govern dockless bikes and scooters, expecting to bring a proposal to council members in June, two companies dropped their electric scooters throughout the city. Now the Austin Transportation Department has proposed fast-tracking approval of the pilot program.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Sometimes solving a problem creates a problem.

The city’s transportation department hosted a roundtable this morning to avoid that very maxim as it relates Austin’s rollout of dockless bikes – those smartphone-enabled rental bikes that have cropped up (and all over) cities like Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Dallas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This post has been updated to reflect the Austin City Council's approval of the pilot program.

Nobody wants to be the withholding stepparent.

That’s why, when dockless bike companies Ofo and Spin rolled out over SXSW last year, they put the city in a tough spot.