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Can Car-Crazy Dallas Learn to Love Bikes?

After a disastrous experiment with dockless bike sharing, the famously auto-centric Texas city is trying to be more friendly to bicycles and pedestrians.
Dockless bike sharing didn't fare well in Dallas in 2018. But maybe the city's future efforts to lure riders will be more successful.
Dockless bike sharing didn't fare well in Dallas in 2018. But maybe the city's future efforts to lure riders will be more successful.Tony Gutierrez/AP

In January 2018, there were nearly 20,000 rentable shared bikes on the streets of Dallas. A slew of private bikeshare companies like Ofo and LimeBike had descended, seemingly overnight; suddenly, this car-centric Texas city boasted the biggest dockless fleet in the country.

Today, they’re almost all gone. The dockless invasion led to chaos on streets and sidewalks, as well as a headline-grabbing rash of creative anti-bike vandalism. In June 2018, the City Council stepped in, enacting regulations that forced bikeshare companies to pay $21 for each cycle in their fleets and to clean up any messes left behind by customers. Those dockless bikes that hadn’t been burned in effigy or hung from trees were recycled for scrap. About the only reminder of this experiment is the occasional abandoned silver V-Bike splayed on the grass at White Rock Lake. “Rarely have these systems failed with as much gusto as the one in Dallas,” Texas Monthly concluded.