Amsterdam o-bike
Amsterdam gives dockless bikes the flick

As a city with staggering numbers of bikes on the street each day, Amsterdam has never really felt the need for bike share schemes, but they have arrived anyway, uninvited, and the city wants them gone.

Space to park your bike in Amsterdam is as rare as hens teeth, and the new dockless share bike companies—that are springing up in cities round the world—have dumped their wares in every spare space they can find.

Now the locals bike riders, with no place to park their bikes, are furious, and so is the city government: dockless bikes begone, it has pronounced.

About five dockless bike firms have set up in the Dutch capital hoping that the smartphone enabled machines will prove popular in one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.

But because docking stations are not needed, the firms did not seek city permission before launching.

Amsterdam has no official bike-share scheme of its own (although it has legion bike rental shops) and the Netherlands has the national OV Fiets system—a last-kilometre option for people using railway and metro stations.

Ironically, a good, efficient dockless share bike system could actually reduce the number of bikes on Amsterdam Streets and improve bike parking availability: the public could switch from personal bikes to share bikes that would get many uses per day and not be parked all day.

But how to get from here to there?

One trick might be to actually corral the dockless bikes into quasi docks—zones on the street where they would be required to park.

Even in Amsterdam, where bikes are used for more than 65 per cent of all trips, cars still get most of the road and parking space, so there is an opportunity to re-balance that equation.

Meanwhile more than a hundred dockless O-Bikes—the same as those in Melbourne—have been impounded by Wandsworth Borough Council in London because they were blocking the footpath and occupying car parking spaces.

"The company that has flooded London with a rash of yellow rental bikes without any warning might be scratching their heads and asking themselves why so many have vanished from the streets of Wandsworth," the council said.

"The answer is that dozens have been impounded by the council for cluttering pavements and causing obstructions."

Observers have pointed out that the council has not impounded any of the many cars that have parked on the footpath.