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Testing Aurora's dockless bike share system

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 00:54:46-05

AURORA, Colo. -- The bright-colored bikes are parked all over Aurora, a new evolution of bikeshare that doesn't require a dock and leaves bikes parked throughout the city.

While the program was launched three months ago, many are still learning how it works, as cities such as Denver watch to see if it catches on.

Jonathan Woodward works for the City of Aurora and has ridden the dockless bikeshare bikes several times over the last few months for short trips.

"It's good for teenagers, but also people like me who like to make short trips to the light rail, to Stanley Marketplace. I bought a house a couple of blocks away, so it's nice to take a short little ride," said Woodward.

Since the launch of the dockless bikeshare program in Aurora in October, three companies have been permitted and riders have made more than 6,000 trips. The most popular destinations include light rail stops, libraries and high schools.

"Yes, I would consider it a success now, but there's still a lot of things to work on," said Brenden Paradies, an Aurora City Planner who monitors the program. "There have been some challenges around proper placement of bicycles near or around sidewalks or around bus shelters. "

In other cities, dockless bikeshares have been criticized for shoddy construction, with images of broken bikes littering streets and sidewalks in China. 

Aurora's permitting program actively works to prevent those issues with required inspections of bicycles and placards showing riders where parking is allowed.

Meanwhile, the City of Denver has been slow to embrace dockless bikeshare, despite interest from companies. 

In an email to Denver7, Heather Burke, a spokeswoman for Denver Public works states that there are "no immediate plans to move forward with a permit program for a dockless bike share program citywide, but we’re continuing to monitor bikeshare technology advances and similar programs that have rolled out in other cities."

This spring, the University of Denver will roll out a dockless bikeshare pilot program that will be a model for Denver, but it will be limited to a specific area and only for DU students and staff.