Bike share system for Oak Bay looks promising

Oak Bay looks set to join Victoria and Saanich in approving U-Bicycles

Oak Bay looks set to join Victoria and Saanich in approving a dockless bike share system for the municipality.

U-Bicycle Canada’s desire to expand its dockless bike share system into Oak Bay got support from committee of the whole Monday.

The committee saw a presentation on U-Bicycle’s proposed operation. The proposal has an estimated 38 bikes that would go into circulation in Oak Bay. Each bike includes a Global Positioning System (GPS) and a self-activating lock. Using an app, would-be riders can then find and unlock a bike near them, each of which comes with a helmet and a carbon belt drive system. Riders can then use the app to lock the bike. This combination of elements allows riders to drop off their bike anywhere, provided the parking location is safe and legal. This means U-Bicycle does not require racks or locked areas for their bikes, relying instead on public spaces.

The committee asked some tough questions to see if the project would be the right fit for the municipality, and in the end, gave unanimous approval to have staff make an amendment to the Streets and Traffic Bylaw to allow U-Bicycle to operate in public places. Staff will also discuss the project with the Works Department and the Police Department to collect more information on potential issues, before it comes back to council for approval.

“Asking questions is important. It’s not that you are coming from a place of negativity, it’s that you are coming from a place of due diligence. Then I’m confident if I vote in favour of something because I’ve asked all the questions, and received the necessary answers,” said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite.

“Coming out of that meeting there was some constructive feedback but I think for the most part it seems like council has some optimistic ideas about how we can work together,” said Raviv Litman of U-Bicycle Canada. “We feel that Oak Bay is part of this regional program that we want to work towards, especially with half of UVic being in Oak Bay. It’s going to be very positive with students and for businesses around the area. We see this as a win-win for the municipality and for us.”

“I would say that moving ahead with the bylaw change is a good sign that council is extremely supportive of this, especially because it was unanimous,” said Braithwaite.

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