Ocean Beach residents sound off over dockless bikes

SAN DIEGO – Even before the program has officially launched in Ocean Beach, residents say dockless bikes are invading the community.

Larry Gustafson, one of dozens of people who attended an Ocean Beach Town Council meeting Wednesday night, called the bikes a nuisance.

“I think they should pick them up and return them to the same place," said Gustafson, who has lived in Ocean Beach for 66 years.

"We walk our dog down to Sunset Cliffs around the neighborhoods and you have to walk around the bikes," Gustafson said. "My wife eventually is going to trip over one."

At the top of the meeting's agenda were the dockless bikes and dozens of complaints came with them. Representatives from bike-sharing companies LimeBike, Ofo and Mobike were in attendance.

“There were five to 10 bikes that just appeared overnight,” said one town council member.

“We’re asking people just to bear with us and view the positives,” said Zack Bartlett, general manager of LimeBike San Diego.

Bartlett said LimeBike operates in Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego and has yet to launch in Ocean Beach. He said the bikes are tracked and picked up nightly and the bikes are to stay within the areas where they are launched, but often it depends on ridership.

“If one ends up in San Ysidro and it’s constantly getting rides then, by all means, we like to see that,” said Bartlett.

On one of the bike-sharing company's apps, FOX 5 found bikes as far as San Ysidro, Spring Valley and Rancho Bernardo.

“I think they’re great,” said Trevor Stine, who has lived in Ocean Beach for 14 years.

Stine, who teaches at NewSchool of Architecture and Design, said the bikes are good for the environment.

“They’re good for the health of future generations here in San Diego and it goes towards helping our city’s climate action plan,” said Stine.

Stine said he recently visited a city in China, where he said the program also went through bumps but is now on the path to success.

“I saw it work with a city of 20 million people so I know if it can work efficiently there, it can work here,” said Stine.

The representatives said residents can report abandoned bikes their respective bike-sharing companies and they will be picked up immediately.