LimeBike Launches a Petition Seeking Support for More DoBi Cycles in Chicago

Will their vaguely-worded appeal get the city to further relax the permitting rules?

A LimeBike in Beverly. Photo: John Greenfield
A LimeBike in Beverly. Photo: John Greenfield

After the Chicago Department of Transportation announced last Friday that they were modifying the permit regulations for Chicago’s dockless bike-share pilot, reps from LimeBike and Ofo, the two participating companies that use wheel-lock-only bikes, expressed frustration with the new rules. While the revised guidelines meant that they wouldn’t have to remove their fleets of 50 bikes each from the streets by July 1, as previously stipulated, they weren’t allowed to add any more cycles either. Meanwhile, competing DoBi firms Pace and Jump, which use “lock-to” bikes with built-in cable locks and U-locks, respectively, are now permitted to deploy up to 350 cycles.

Recently LimeBike launched a back-door strategy to pressure CDOT to grant them more access. In an email sent to their Chicago customers, the company states, “We are working with Chicago city officials to expand the dockless bikeshare pilot program and make it easy to find a bike when you need it.” It urges residents to “Sign our petition today to let Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Transportation know you want more Lime bikes in Chicago.”

The petition itself is rather vague. Presumably LimeBike wants CDOT to allow wheel-lock-only companies to deploy as many bikes as the lock-to firms, raise that cap above 350, and expand the service area to include the entire city, that’s not explicitly stated:

We are working with Chicago city officials to expand this dockless bikeshare program, putting more bikes on the road and expanding the area we serve. City leaders need to know that citizens like you want that too. Sign our petition asking the Chicago Department of Transportation to bring more bikes to the city!

Perhaps because the petition doesn’t make it clear exactly what LimeBike is trying to accomplish here, it doesn’t seem to be getting much traction. As of 2:30 p.m. today, only a few dozen people had signed.

LimeBike spokespeople and CDOT officials didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment about the petition.

  • Kelly Pierce

    The reason for the lack of a number is because Lime Bike may
    want to do what the company did in Dallas: dump thousands of bikes in the
    community that turned into street litter. Between Lime and OFO, 20,000 dockless
    bikes were dumped into Dallas, a city with a population of 1.1 million. That would
    be more than 50,000 bikes in Chicago. The city is not ready for tens of thousands
    of dockless bikes with companies like Lime unprepared to fully manage and
    repair a fleet this large. Petitioning for policy change includes transparency
    and a demonstration that institutions, like Lime, have the understanding, capacity,
    skills, and maturity to be and act responsible in local communities.