Saanich council Monday approved a pilot project that will introduce dockless bike sharing to Saanich. U-Bicycle already operates in Victoria.

Bike sharing program rolls into Saanich

According to staff, U-Bicycle plans to make between 75 and 100 bicycles available in Saanich.

A new bike-sharing program is pedalling into Saanich.

City council on Monday paved the path for U-Bicycle to test-ride its dockless bike sharing system. According to Saanich staff, the company plans to introduce anywhere between 75 to 100 bikes, after Saanich amended its streets and traffic regulation bylaw.

“I’m totally in support of this,” said Coun. Colin Plant. “This is very interesting. I think it’s worth seeing how it goes,” he said.

Coun. Dean Murdock agreed. Programs such as these speak to shifting social norms, he said, in expressing hope that Saanich will take to the program, as successfully as residents have in Victoria, where they can rent one of the company’s distinctive white-green aluminum-framed bicycles for $1 per 30 minutes since Sept. 2017. In fact, Murdock pointed out that the bikes have already appeared in Saanich.

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.

Saanich had approached the company about two months ago to ask whether it would expand into the municipality, but discussions concluded that Saanich could not issue a business license because the company could not comply with Saanich’s streets and traffic regulation bylaw.

“As noted above, a key component of U-Bicycle’s business model is the use of public space for dockless bikes to be left and made available for use,” said Brent Reems, director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services.

Under the measures approved Monday, Saanich revises the bylaw to permit the operation of bike sharing services, notwithstanding the provisions of the bylaw, under an agreement that will U-Bicycle to operate for one year as a pilot program.

While North American communities have increasingly introduced bike sharing programs, they remain “relatively new,” said Reems. “[Some] concerns with operations have been noted, including problems with the obstructing access to sidewalks, bike placement in inappropriate locations and a proliferation of abandoned and damaged bikes in public spaces,” he said.

Staff are still negotiating the agreement, but are not expecting that it will generate revenue for the municipality, said Reems.

The agreement will cover various operational elements, and staff have said they will ask whether Saanich might be able to use any traffic data that users generate for its transportation planning.

Staff, however, cautioned that the company might wish to protect that data for corporate reasons.

“I cannot guarantee that [data] will be shared with us,” said Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering.

Just Posted

Pedestrain struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Victoria airport workers rally on Tuesday

Food service workers call for improved working conditions

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

BC Nurses Union calls for decriminalization of opioids

BCNU president wants the federal government to do more to reduce preventable deaths

Saanich grants public hearing to senior housing proposal

Five-storey rental apartment would add 39 units near Cuthbert Holmes Park

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read