How Much Longer Will The Council Give Bike Companies A Free Ride?

Love them or hate them ... a lot of people believe there are too many lime and yellow bikes scattered around the city. And there could be even more on the way.
Councilman Guy Phillips, who's not reluctant to share his skepticism about the Bike Share concept, says the two primary bike companies, Lime Bike and ofo, have approximately 4,000 bikes in Scottsdale. Most are spread out in the southern and central parts of the city - although some have started showing up as far north as the intersection of Thompson Peak Parkway and Hayden Road.
Currently, the two bike companies aren't accountable. They don't have to answer to anyone, including the city. But councilmembers have to answer to their constituents. That's something the bike companies shouldn't underestimate. Unless they want the city to start regulating their businesses - which would undoubtedly begin with limiting the number of bikes each company would be allowed to provide their potential customers.
There's no question that Bike Share is popular, at least with users.
According to Lisa Johnson, the city's Transportation Plan and Transit Program Manager, since the program began three months ago, there have been about 110,000 "rides" in the city. That exceeds what the city had originally estimated, says Johnson. It also makes Scottsdale the most successful market in the country for the two companies.
Unfortunately, that high usage has produced negative feedback to both the city and the companies. The three most often received complaints are parked bikes blocking sidewalks, the sheer number of bikes and the visual clutter created by the high number of bikes.
Councilmembers are also receiving an earful from citizens, both from those who like the program and those who think Bike Share is out of control. Councilman Phillips, for one, is frustrated. "When people call me and complain, I have to tell them we (the city) can't do anything about it. It's embarrassing." Some citizens share Phillips' frustration as documented by photos of bikes that have been tossed in ponds, stuffed in trashcans or mangled.   
When the Council convened last week in a work-study session to discuss the Bike Share issue, they concluded that several things could be done - especially having the companies educate riders about bike etiquette. Not the most realistic of the recommendations, because the companies are in the bike business ... not the behavior modification business.
More tangible ideas included: Requiring companies to install bike racks and force riders to use the racks for picking up and returning bikes. In addition, they suggested imposing fees to cover the cost of hauling away bikes left in canals, fountains, front yards and around public art. The Council also discussed encouraging the companies to do a better job of dispersing bikes throughout the city, like placing more in the DC Ranch area.
That suggestion prompted Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield to factiously say: "I can hardly wait to hear from North Scottsdale residents."
While she is enthusiastic about the program, Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp told the Bike Share companies that she didn't want to tell them how to run their business, but added: "Please listen to citizens and the Council because we're the ones taking the heat, and you have to do something about it."