Local Government and Politics, News

Selectman wants ride-share bikes out of Saugus

SAUGUS — A Saugus selectman wants abandoned ride-share bikes to hit the road. 

Selectman Scott Brazis said his concern was sparked by a letter he received from a resident who was fed up with seeing the green and yellow bikes littered across town. 

“We don’t have those bikes here in town but they do in Malden and Revere, and if somebody drives them into town — that’s what they’re there for — they leave them and they get picked up,” said Brazis. 

Dockless bike shares do not require a docking station. Users instead park the bikes within a defined district, either at a bike rack or along the sidewalk, and they are located and unlocked by another user or the company using a cell phone app. 

But many of the bikes lay abandoned for days or weeks, said Brazis.  

“There has been a bike on Main Street for two-and-a-half weeks since I’ve been made aware of it, and I guess it was there for two weeks before I was notified,” said Brazis, who asked Town Manager Scott Crabtree to obtain a legal opinion on whether the bike could be considered abandoned and removed by the town. 

This wasn’t the first time Crabtree had heard about the problem, he said.

“There was one on Western Avenue that looked like it was hit by a car and it was there for a while,” said Crabtree, who told Brazis that someone from his office would determine which company the bikes belong to and request they be removed. 

“I’ll take a look at what we can do legally, but it may just be a bylaw that says they’re not allowed,” he said. “Long term, I think we need a bylaw.”

Lynn took similar action in September 2018. City councilors voted unanimously to end a four-month trial program with the Cambridge-based Ant Bicycle Inc., after experiencing similar problems. 

Counselors reported seeing the bikes haphazardly scattered across the city and feared the abandoned bikes would be covered by snow if they weren’t removed by fall. They ordered the bikes to be removed from the city by November 2018.

Ofo, a Beijing-based bike sharing firm, pulled out of Lynn in July 2018 in an effort to “prioritize operations in a number of successful markets,” according to a statement from ofo’s head of North America, Andrew Daly.

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