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Del Mar council endorses pilot bicycle-sharing program

On an experimental basis, Del Mar will allow a bike-share vendor to operate within the city for one year starting in the next few months.

City Council members voted 5-0 Monday, March 18, to give initial approval to the Shared Mobility Pilot Program Ordinance, which authorizes one proprietor to provide the program subject to various regulations.

The council’s final approval is expected at an upcoming meeting, after which the ordinance would become law in 30 days.

In instituting the program, Del Mar is acting in concert with other North County cities.

In the shared mobility concept, a proprietor rents a vehicle — whether it be a bicycle, motorbike, scooter or even a car — to customers, who can drive to their intended destinations and leave the vehicles there.

Other customers can come along and use credit cards to hire the vehicles left behind by the prior user and ride where they want to go. With satellite tracking, the operator can follow the movements and collect the vehicles.

Though the approach is regarded as an environmentally friendly alternative to reliance on automobiles, it can lead to chaos when under-regulated. That’s what happened in San Diego, especially with a proliferation of motorized scooters.

Leaders in North County cities decided to take a conservative approach by limiting themselves to one bicycle and electric bike vendor for a year to see how it works out.

After that, Del Mar and the other cities will analyze their pilot programs and decide how to go forward with shared mobility vehicles.

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