DALLAS — Colorful fixed-gear bikes litter the city’s streets here.
They’re in Uptown, where 20-somethings sip craft cocktails on breezy outdoor patios, and in White Rock Lake, where moms in yoga pants meet to push strollers. From the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, bikes are visible in the Trinity River below. The bikes are everywhere downtown, leaning against cement planters, outside parking garages and cafes, lined up at Dealey Plaza.
The bikes belong to companies that are hoping to change how people get around cities. Dockless bike-share startups, already common in China, have been making their way into the U.S. The idea is simple and utopian — easily accessible, low-cost bikes that people can grab, use and leave just about anywhere.
The problem, however, is they do leave them anywhere — and everywhere.
With at least five companies having introduced their services to Dallas, there are thousands of these bikes throughout the city. They clog sidewalks and pile up on street corners. Mayor Mike Rawlings, the former CEO of Pizza Hut, likened them to the tribbles from Star Trek, saying they “asexually reproduce or something.”