SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A bike-sharing craze that has swept China over the past two years is picking up speed in cities across the United States, but with a different spin as tough local regulations rein in the roll-out of dockless bikes.
Chinese startups pioneered dockless bike sharing: unlock a bike with your cellphone, ride it, park it, and relock it. But the downside has been bikes piled everywhere in many cities, clogging the sidewalks.
US - Cities - Problem - Rules - Companies
Many major U.S. cities have pre-empted that problem with rules that sharply limit how many dockless-bike companies can operate and how many bikes they can offer in an effort to avoid problems with blocked sidewalks.
Mobike, one of the Chinese bike-sharing giants, has launched in just five U.S. cities and is deliberately moving slowly to work with local communities, according to U.S. General Manager Jason Wong. In Dallas, a city that bike-share companies say is lax on regulation, Mobike has “voluntarily capped” its dockless bike number at 3,000 to make sure the business can thrive in the long term.
Ofo - Dockless - Power - City - Blessing
Ofo, another Chinese dockless bike-sharing power, will not enter a city without the blessing of local officials, said Chris Taylor, head of the company’s North America business. It is now in 25 U.S. cities, including Seattle, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
“I think it’s definitely tougher than it is in China but I see that as a good thing,” said Toby Sun, co-founder and CEO of San Mateo, California-based LimeBike. The company put its first dockless bikes on the road in June and has so far raised $132 million from investors, including top Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
New - York - City - San - Francisco
In New York City and San Francisco, dockless bike sharing is all but banned. Both cities have exclusive, multi-year deals...
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