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Old 01-14-17, 11:55 AM   #1
genec
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Seattle shuts down bike share...

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Seattle’s city-run bike-share program is dead.

Pronto is scheduled to shut down at the end of March, so the announcement means the city will soon have no public system at all.

Tom Fucoloro, the editor of Seattle Bike Blog, expressed disappointment that the city hasn’t been able to get bike share right. Portland and Vancouver, B.C., which started systems more recently, are pedaling forward, he noted.

“It’s very frustrating,” Fucoloro said. “Seattle was the only one of the three that had a system, and now it will be the only one that doesn’t.”

Some think Seattle’s mandatory helmet law contributed to the system’s woes, while the city’s hilly terrain and rainy weather were also cited as challenges.
Seattle?s Mayor Murray kills city-run bike-share program | The Seattle Times

Apparently the city is willing to work with a private firm, but will no longer sponsor the city run bike share program.
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Old 01-14-17, 03:08 PM   #2
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That's too bad. I was in Seattle for a convention (work) in June, and found Pronto a really great way to get around. As an out-of-towner, it also allowed me access to parts of the city that I otherwise might not have explored.

That said, I can see why there might be challenges. It wasn't quite clear how to get a helmet (I travel with one, but most don't). And the Pronto bikes were quite heavy - good for flat terrain, but a bit of a challenge pedaling up Cap Hill and to UW.
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Old 01-14-17, 04:30 PM   #3
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I can see how the helmet law could be a key issue. It's also possible that they were overly ambitious with a large coverage area, while the demand is and will always tend to be in the dense core. Possibly they might be convinced to review their usage data, and continue with a scaled down program where there's proven demand.

NYC has similar issues, with political reasons to expand the program to under served neighborhoods, but though you'd expect usage there, it doesn't happen because the ravel patterns and habits are different. IME - bike share works best in dense areas where the average trip is relatively short, and demand high enough that stations can be spaced closely.

Also, if Seattle has any hopes of having a share program that works, they'll need to rethink the helmet law. As it stands, that law is probably keeping cyclists safer mainly by keeping them off their bikes.
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Old 01-14-17, 04:56 PM   #4
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That's why this guy should not be allowed to win NYC mayoral race (not that he has any big chance, nor do I like de Blasio):

Bo Dietl mulls challenge against 'Big Bird' Mayor de Blasio

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“Day one when I get elected, I’m going to be on a bulldozer taking out those bike lanes,” he said.
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Old 01-14-17, 05:19 PM   #5
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I can see how the helmet law could be a key issue. It's also possible that they were overly ambitious with a large coverage area, while the demand is and will always tend to be in the dense core. Possibly they might be convinced to review their usage data, and continue with a scaled down program where there's proven demand.

NYC has similar issues, with political reasons to expand the program to under served neighborhoods, but though you'd expect usage there, it doesn't happen because the ravel patterns and habits are different. IME - bike share works best in dense areas where the average trip is relatively short, and demand high enough that stations can be spaced closely.

Also, if Seattle has any hopes of having a share program that works, they'll need to rethink the helmet law. As it stands, that law is probably keeping cyclists safer mainly by keeping them off their bikes.
Ouch!

Well a private firm with city licensing may be able to get it working... San Diego uses a partnership program called Deco bike. DecoBike San Diego - Rent a Bike | California Bicycle Rental, Bike Sharing, Public Bike Program | Bicycle Rentals, Bicycle Shop | San Diego Bike Tour, Bicycle Rides, Bicycle Sharing It seems to be functioning well enough for the moment.

I do tend to agree that the helmet issue makes it tough... Not many of us travel with helmets...
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Old 01-14-17, 05:20 PM   #6
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What exactly is the Seattle helmet law? Is it an under 21 thing or all ages?
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Old 01-14-17, 06:00 PM   #7
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Helmet laws are a key issue in any bike share program and a big reason cited for why both Brisbane and Melbourne's schemes do not get the traction that they should.
I wonder why Seattle does not think that they should continue to sponsor a loss making bicycle scheme but is willing to continue to sponsor a loss making roads system?
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Old 01-14-17, 07:46 PM   #8
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What exactly is the Seattle helmet law? Is it an under 21 thing or all ages?
It's for everyone. Here's some links to the King County info page, and the actual statute.
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Old 01-14-17, 08:43 PM   #9
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Back on the Bus Gus..
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Old 01-14-17, 09:00 PM   #10
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Ouch!

I do tend to agree that the helmet issue makes it tough... Not many of us travel with helmets...
Sorry for any pain I might have caused.
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Old 01-14-17, 09:05 PM   #11
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Also, if Seattle has any hopes of having a share program that works, they'll need to rethink the helmet law. As it stands, that law is probably keeping cyclists safer mainly by keeping them off their bikes.
And in greater risk for diabetes and heart disease.
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Old 01-14-17, 09:07 PM   #12
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Surely a Helmet would help in an airplane crash.
Seattle is about the only city i didn't like. pffft
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Old 01-14-17, 09:11 PM   #13
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That's why this guy should not be allowed to win NYC mayoral race (not that he has any big chance, nor do I like de Blasio):

Bo Dietl mulls challenge against 'Big Bird' Mayor de Blasio

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“Day one when I get elected, I’m going to be on a bulldozer taking out those bike lanes,” he said.
Good reason to vote for him.

Put an end to the NYC alternate parking lane that NYPD will not ticket. That frees up one full lane that cyclist can actually use.
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Old 01-14-17, 09:20 PM   #14
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Let's try to keep this about bike share in Seattle, or at least close. otherwise it'll get banished to someplace like P&R.

I wouldn't have mentioned helmets at all, except that they're a barrier to spontaneous use of a bike share bike.

The issues of helmets and bikeshare programs are a bit divisive for bike advocaats. Many are strong believers in both helmet use, and bikeshare, and wrestle with the idea that they may be mutually exclusive to an extent.

OTOH - I'm a big fan of bike share programs for urban cores for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they're a barrier to mandatory helmet legislation.
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Old 01-14-17, 09:27 PM   #15
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The issues of helmets and bikeshare programs are a bit divisive for bike advocaats. Many are strong believers in both helmet use, and bikeshare, and wrestle with the idea that they may be mutually exclusive to an extent.

OTOH - I'm a big fan of bike share programs for urban cores for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they're a barrier to mandatory helmet legislation.
I always wonder what these advocats think will happen if Mandatory Helmet Laws are removed. Do they think that suddenly it will become illegal to use a helmet? Do theynot get that they will still have a choice to wear a helmet if they wish (unlike now)?

I would wonder if part of the reason for the scheme not being taken up is tourism related (not knowing Seattle, what is there that a visiting tourist would want to use a hired bicycle to visit? I believe that part of teh reason for the failure of Brisbane's scheme is that frankly there is nothing to actually ride to see in the scheme of things for tourists.
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Old 01-14-17, 09:28 PM   #16
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I can see how hills could be a problem. (And the helmet thing, too.) The Cincinnati bikes are around 45 pounds, with a twist shift 3-speed hub, fine for flat roads, but the low gear really isn't low enough for most riders.

The local Cincinnati RedBike system of about 55 stations (up from 30 stations a few years ago) has two islands of coverage, the central city river valley and a separate group of stations by the University, at the top of the higher elevations. There's a 7% grade, 250 feet high climb in between, and the climb would be a huge challenge. Even the 40-50 foot, 2 block long climb into downtown is hard enough.

This Chicago Divvy bike map is amazing. Click it and zoom in. There's now 580 stations, up from around 300 a few years ago. The blue dots show how full each station is. (and there's a phone app for bike shares, showing your location and the nearby stations.) No hill problems there!

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Old 01-14-17, 09:32 PM   #17
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More Privatization is in the future , public anything has Up Hill chalenges ..

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Bicycle Helmets - Currently, there is no state law requiring helmet use. However,
some cities and counties do require helmets. See Localities Requiring Bicycle Helmets. Riding on the Road -
When riding on a roadway, a cyclist has all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver
(RCW 46.61.755).
WSDOT - Washington State Bicycle Laws
https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/Laws.htm
Quote:
Wear a helmet! It's the law!
In July 2003, the King County Board of Health extended the King County bike helmet regulation (PDF) to include Seattle. The new rule went into effect in August 2003 and requires that all bicyclists (regardless of age) must wear a helmet.

Bicyclists throughout the county can be cited for not wearing helmets. Avoid fines, fees, and injuries by wearing a bike helmet!

Oregon it's Under 16, but around here the PD is not enforcing it , since writing citations, reports, and court time exceed the Fee income.



...

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Old 01-14-17, 09:50 PM   #18
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While tourism is a percentage of the use, the successful bikeshare programs thrive in dense downtowns where plenty of people are making short trips of under a mile. They fill the gap between a long walk and a cab ride.

In Manhattan, for example, crosstown trips were especially difficult. Subways don't go that way, the bus is slower than walking, and cabs not much better. So, here was no efficient way for a trip, like from 8th Ave at 34th to Lexington Ave. at 42nd street. Bike share filled that niche very nicely, along with the thousands of similar trips.

When I lived in Manhattan, many of my destinations were within a 20 minute walk. Though I rode my bike longer distances, these trips didn't warrant the hassle and risk of theft, so it was shoe leather time. If there were bikeshare, my shoes would have lasted longer. Later, I'd take the bike with me on the train from the burbs, but that meant I couldn't go home between 4 and 7PM. These days, I rail in and use bike share, so no risk of theft, or restriction on going home.
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Old 01-14-17, 10:04 PM   #19
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While tourism is a percentage of the use, the successful bikeshare programs thrive in dense downtowns where plenty of people are making short trips of under a mile. They fill the gap between a long walk and a cab ride.
Are there any bikeshare programs in the U.S. that are "successful" enough to survive, let alone thrive, without taxpayer support and/or a corporate sugar daddy to bankroll their money losing operations?
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Old 01-14-17, 10:26 PM   #20
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Are there any bikeshare programs in the U.S. that are "successful" enough to survive, let alone thrive, without taxpayer support and/or a corporate sugar daddy to bankroll their money losing operations?
Unless it changed since the last time I bothered thinking about it, NYC's program doesn't get dough from the city. Of course there's "support" in the form of free exclusive use of public property. There is corporate sponsor support, but that's a marketing decision, the same way buying naming rights for a sports stadium.

You might also consider that the fare box pays less than half out public transit cost, so bikeshare is a better value for the city on a cost per ride basis.

Other cities might be making a financial contribution, but there too, I'll venture, though not put money on it, that their bikeshare contribution is lower than their other transit subsidies on a cost per ride, or even per mile basis.

The problem with bike share, is that it's rarely well presented as an element of an integrated transit system. If thought about that way, and ONLY that way, then it will make sense in some places, and not in others.

The way I look at it, it's logical for dense urban centers, and a good fit for cities like NYC and Chicago among others. But may not make sense when it doesn't fill a critical niche, or where distances or terrain argue against it. Like any public policy decision, it has to be considered dispassionately, though we all know that rarely happens in government today.
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Old 01-14-17, 10:37 PM   #21
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Are there any bikeshare programs in the U.S. that are "successful" enough to survive, let alone thrive, without taxpayer support and/or a corporate sugar daddy to bankroll their money losing operations?
New York's Citibike gets NO tax subsidies and is quite successful. It does benefit from corporate sponsorship, but that is an advertising expenditure for the sponsor, with thousands of Citibank ads traveling about the city. I believe it has the highest user fees of any bikeshare system, but I am not certain at this point. It did have a rocky start, but is doing fine now.

Honestly, I am all for subsidies for all mass transit programs considering the benefits provided. This city (like most large cities) would become impossible to traverse without mass transit.
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Old 01-14-17, 10:40 PM   #22
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It's for everyone. Here's some links to the King County info page, and the actual statute.
Wow, thats tough, even on paths and parks...
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Old 01-14-17, 10:45 PM   #23
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Are there any bikeshare programs in the U.S. that are "successful" enough to survive, let alone thrive, without taxpayer support and/or a corporate sugar daddy to bankroll their money losing operations?
You can ask the same qestion about RR, airports, bus systems and just plain roadways... ALL have taxpayer support... should we abandon those too?
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Old 01-14-17, 11:02 PM   #24
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Are there any bikeshare programs in the U.S. that are "successful" enough to survive, let alone thrive, without taxpayer support and/or a corporate sugar daddy to bankroll their money losing operations?
A better question would be is there any public infrastructure that survives without tax and rate payer support?
Roads? No
Parks? No
Beaches? No
Public toilets? No
Public parking? No
In Australia our public transport system cant even support itself.
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Old 01-14-17, 11:07 PM   #25
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Wow, thats tough, even on paths and parks...
Try Australia and NZ.
The only 2 countries in the world to have a Mandatory Helmet Law nationally everywhere except on bike paths in Darwin.
Introduced 30+ years ago and despite the fact that the experiment has not improved cyclist safety or that no other country has followed our lead, our Govt clings to it and has brainwashed many people into believing that you will spontaneously die if you every get on a bicycle without a helmet on.
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