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Representatives of scheme operators Co-Motion, Councillor Michael Begley and a number of sponsoring businesses pictured at the launch of the bike share scheme early last month.

Anti-social elements force rapid cutback of bike share scheme

A BIKE sharing scheme introduced to Shannon in July is having to be scaled back already due to anti-social behaviour.

While it is not being scrapped, it has been suspended while improvements are being made. 

“We have had some instances of anti social behaviour so we have temporarily paused the scheme, we’re introducing some new security measures within the app. We’re having younger teenagers accessing the scheme, and we just need to put in some extra security measures so we can verify their age before they sign up. We’re developing that and we hope to reactivate it in the next week to ten days, back to full capacity,” said Jarlath Gantly, CEO of CoMotion, the company that provides the bikes.

Shannon has experienced extensive problems with anti-social behaviour in recent years, with numerous complaints made to authorities about vandalism and intimidatory behaviour. 

Councillor Donna McGettigan said that many people have been using the bikes, but that the actions of a small minority have caused the issue.

“They are keeping the system going, but they’re curbing it for the minute, and that won’t be forever either.

“The figures we’ve got show that it has been successful, that 90% of the journeys are proper journeys and they had over 1,000 journeys in three weeks.

“It is successful, it’s just that there is that small minority, as usual. We do have an anti-social behaviour issue in Shannon, we’re going to have to try and find a way of dealing with that.

“It is a problem and I do get quite a lot of people contacting me about it. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and say that we don’t have issues. We do, we need to deal with them, but we also need to look at the positives.

“In this situation with the bikes the positives are that 90% of the journeys are perfect, there have been over 1000 journeys, there’s a good uptake on it, but there is that element too.”

While she stressed that most use of the bikes has not been problematic, there is a problem with anti-social behaviour locally. “There are a lot of issues in Shannon with anti-social behaviour and we do need to stop burying our heads in the sand on it and do something about it.”

She said she would fear that an incident could escalate at some point, should the current level of anti-social behaviour continue, and she said a comprehensive solution to address the behaviour and the root causes is required. “We have to get some system in place not just to tackle the issues that are happening but also tackling why they are happening.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.