DURHAM--It turns out one person's convenience can be another person's headache.
Bike rental shop owners in Durham are voicing their concerns over the city's new dockless, bike-sharing program.
City officials launched the service Monday in a partnership with Lime Bike and Spin to provide the bikes. The program allows users to rent the bikes and drop them off anywhere in the city.
“We've think that a dockless bike rental program properly implemented and thoughtfully implemented can be a real positive for Durham,” says David LoSchiavo, owner of Durham Cycles.
However, LoSchiavo believes his shop is at a competitive disadvantage and would like the city to help. He sent a letter to the city council, outlining his requests. They include:
- Competing mobile bike rentals will not be placed within 50 feet of our store fronts
- The city will cease promoting dockless bike rentals on their official media pages.
- Bike rental companies must comply with the ADA and leave at least 4 feet of sidewalk open for pedestrians.
- Durham's bike shops may be allowed to distribute rental bikes anywhere in the city, following the same guidelines as those above.
“The city is aware that mobile businesses can take unfair advantage of brick-and-mortar investment in infrastructure and advertising,” LoSchiavo adds. “For instance, the city has an ordinance preventing food trucks from parking within 50 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.”
City leaders believe some adjustments will be made to the program but say shop owners must remain competitive.
”Anytime you're faced with disruptive technology, bike shops need to focus on what they do well and do better, so better quality bikes,” says Councilman Don Moffitt.
LoSchiavo actually agrees. He believes the city will work on and take his matter seriously. “We absolutely believe that we have to adapt to changing distribution methods.”