A new legal opinion opens the door for the city of San Diego to join a transportation trend sweeping the region that allows people to use smartphones to rent bikes for short trips and then leave them anywhere that’s convenient. San Diego has an exclusive deal through 2023 with bike-sharing provider DecoBike, whose business model requires customers to return bikes to docking stations. City Attorney Mara Elliott says San Diego could nevertheless allow dockless bike-sharing companies like LimeBike and Spin to operate within the city. Environmentalists and bicycling advocates call dockless bikes a superior option to bikes that consumers must rent and return to docking stations, because dockless bikes are cheaper to rent and allow people to go exactly where they want to go. They predict dockless bikes, whose rear wheels lock in place when consumers are done using them, will do a better job of helping San Diego meet the goals of increased bike and transit use required in the city’s ambitious climate action plan.