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    Bicycle Sharing

    I don't know how many of you are familiar with the concept of bicycle sharing systems.
    heres a video of such a system.

    I just wanted to know what you guys think of the concept


    And just a side note but, I have a survey that you guys might be able to help me out with.
    http://www.eSurveysPro.com/Survey.as...9-ecc263a8c1af
    At least take a look and if you want to really help, pass it on =)

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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    My only question is, how pervasive will it be? How many bikes will be spread over how many stations?

    DC loves to talk about its SmartBike program, but they're hardly available where many people can use them. They compare it to Paris's Vélib' when the only similarity is that it uses bikes and electronic billing. You can't walk more than a couple blocks through Paris without seeing another Vélib' station, but I've been walking, biking, and subway'ing all over DC and only remember seeing two of the ten SmartBike stations.

    Vélib' has more than 20,000 bikes spread over 1450 stations.

    If you want this to be used, it has to be useful. I would have to walk past at least three Metro subway stations and maybe a dozen bus stops to get to the closest SmartBike rack. It's simply easier for me to NOT use SmartBike.



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    They're a good concept, though all sorts of systems have run into serious problems of lossage issues. Paris' velib program, has, since its inception, had essentially every one of its bikes stolen or vandalised at some point (20,000 bikes - 7,800 missing and 11,600 vandalised). In my home town a small non-profit attempted to provide bicycle sharing by putting 100 bikes at 14 stations in the city centre. This was a much lower budget operation, using old donated bikes that had been fixed up and painted a distinct colour of red. Despite the low value of the bikes, 95 of the 100 went missing in 2008, and the program was called off, having inadequate resources to deal with that kind of loss.

    I admire anyone trying to set one up, but they'd better have factored in that kind of loss rate to their business plan, or they'll have problems.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    I think Denver has a real shot at making a useful bike sharing program.

    Compare this map to the one BarrackSI put up:



    Tons more stations (supposed to be ~40-50 stations in the system), and alot of them are placed next to or near transit corridors.

    I'm hoping when it opens in Spring 2010, we'll see a ton more bicycles in downtown. I'd love that.
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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post

    If you want this to be used, it has to be useful. I would have to walk past at least three Metro subway stations and maybe a dozen bus stops to get to the closest SmartBike rack. It's simply easier for me to NOT use SmartBike.
    Agreed. But have to ask the question: useful for whom? With such a small number of stations, the smart approach would be to target a certain class of people. Obviously there's not enough stations to satisfy transit passenger demands, but a small program might be useful for other users. If a city doesn't have a ton of cash to put into such a program and if the objective is just to assess demand... sort of get the ball rolling.., then a more targeted approach might work. For example, putting stations so that a metro university might be able to use them. Or hitting a small subset of the transit stations in a downtown area.

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    I'm thinking if you were going to do a "bike sharing" program, you'd want to set it up more like ZipCar rather than "come borrow a bike for nothing, with little or no identification".

    Essentially set up banks of bike lockers with electronic card or something like RSA SecureID access. You pay some amount of subscription money a year ($20? $40?), and get a personal access token (card or whatever). You can then use that token to unlock any locker and check out the bike. Who checks out each bike is recorded. To return the bike you unlock an unoccupied locker and put the bike in. You can only have one checked out at a time (or maybe some fixed number, for a family subscription).

    Now that I actually watch the video, it sounds like that's very close to what they're doing. I think not using full bike lockers is a mistake, though. Those lock-up bars just look too easy to steal from, and there's nothing there to protect the bikes from vandalism. Hopefully their GPS system allows for remote tracking of stolen bikes.

    On a tangent, I like the "we're not anti-car" message. I think too many cycling advocates miss that bikes and cars are tools, and like any other tools they're good for some things and not so good for others. Sure, they can both be entertainment as well, but they're still tools. Claiming that bicycles (or cars) are the best and the other should be marginalized or eliminated makes about as much sense as arguing that hammers are the best and we shouldn't be using any of those dumb screwdrivers.

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    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    This a government funded bikes for thieves program or privately funded bikes for thieves program?
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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Agreed. But have to ask the question: useful for whom? With such a small number of stations, the smart approach would be to target a certain class of people.
    Either a class of people or, as I would put it, a locality, including both ends of someone's bike ride.

    Say that you work downtown and want to ride one to go somewhere for lunch. You need to have it near your office building, and either lock it up at your destination or have another rack where you could park it. Trouble is, if you're not lucky enough to be working near one of the few racks, you might never use them.

    Why stop at downtown, though? Pushing the bikes to the neighborhoods where people live would give them an opportunity to use them for local shopping, going out for dinner, or just plain commuting to work.

    Here's a random Velib station that I walked past this Spring. There are more than thirty bikes ready for use. I also saw these bikes being ridden everywhere I went. If we didn't have my eight-year-old niece with us, we would have used these bikes several times in just a day.


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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim View Post
    This a government funded bikes for thieves program or privately funded bikes for thieves program?
    You're in Atlanta -- no bike sharing for you.

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    You guys make it sound like these bikes are gonna be stolen a lot... Those bars they're locked up to would actually be very difficult to steal from. Plus, you have to use your credit card to check out a bike. So its not like people would be checking out bikes then not returning them.

    Also, what would be the usefulness of stealing these bikes? You couldn't sell 'em. They're very unique.

    Not to mention, they have GPS on them. The company that runs the program can track them down.

    Magnet for bike thieves? Probably not.

    P.S. As far as funding, its a public-private partnership, so funded publicy, being ran by a private company.
    Last edited by mikeybikes; 01-10-10 at 01:50 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    You guys make it sound like these bikes are gonna be stolen a lot... Those bars they're locked up to would actually be very difficult to steal from. Plus, you have to use your credit card to check out a bike. So its not like people would be checking out bikes then not returning them.

    Also, what would be the usefulness of stealing these bikes? You couldn't sell 'em. They're very unique.

    Not to mention, they have GPS on them. The company that runs the program can track them down.

    Magnet for bike thieves? Probably not.

    P.S. As far as funding, its a public-private partnership, so funded publicy, being ran by a private company.
    That's because over half of the original Paris rental fleet has been stolen. The private company running the program, JCDecaux, complained that it can no longer afford to maintain a city-wide fleet. That threat of shrinking the rental fleet worked and the City of Paris has agreed to start paying a big part of the replacement costs for bikes that go missing. (I'm not sure what the average Parisian taxpayer thinks about this subsidy.) Here's an article from the BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7881079.stm

    Personally, I think the present economy makes such a program very susceptible to loss through theft. As other posters have mentioned, you need to factor in better security. The Paris street-based system doesn't seem to have enough security built in. Perhaps it would be cheaper in the long run to have a one-employee kiosk at bike parking areas to help cut down on vandalism and theft.

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    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    You guys make it sound like these bikes are gonna be stolen a lot... Those bars they're locked up to would actually be very difficult to steal from. Plus, you have to use your credit card to check out a bike. So its not like people would be checking out bikes then not returning them.

    Also, what would be the usefulness of stealing these bikes? You couldn't sell 'em. They're very unique.

    Not to mention, they have GPS on them. The company that runs the program can track them down.

    Magnet for bike thieves? Probably not.

    P.S. As far as funding, its a public-private partnership, so funded publicy, being ran by a private company.
    Ya wanna bet? The programs that are already in place have HUGE theft problems and that was noted above with verifiable numbers. The bikes show up on Ebay all the time.
    Paris' velib program, has, since its inception, had essentially every one of its bikes stolen or vandalised at some point (20,000 bikes - 7,800 missing and 11,600 vandalised).
    Do I like the idea...yep. Do I think it is a good use for tax money...NO WAY IN HELL. I know that it will cost a fortune because of the thefts and vandalism. The US has enough money issues without spending more right now. I hear the Paris bikes cost about $4,000 US. What are the US bikes going to cost?
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    Quote Originally Posted by anderson View Post
    I don't know how many of you are familiar with the concept of bicycle sharing systems.
    heres a video of such a system.

    I just wanted to know what you guys think of the concept


    And just a side note but, I have a survey that you guys might be able to help me out with.
    http://www.eSurveysPro.com/Survey.as...9-ecc263a8c1af
    At least take a look and if you want to really help, pass it on =)
    OP, given the theft of half of the original fleet of Velib bicycles in Paris' program and the fact that the City of Paris has had to agree to step in and pay the lions share of the cost to replace bikes to keep the program going, what are you do make your system more secure? Clearly, it won't take long for word to spread among determined thieves about where the GPS equipment is located on the bikes and how to defeat it. It doesn't look like many of your stations have a human attendant and many are outside on the street, just like in Paris. Is there any thought being given to be flexible enough to place a human attendant at those locations that have a high theft rate? Are you going to quickly respond and reconfigure those bike stations that are determined to have a high theft rate?

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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim View Post
    Do I like the idea...yep. Do I think it is a good use for tax money...NO WAY IN HELL.
    The counter argument would be that tax money already pays for roads, public transit, emergency services, etc. Would bike sharing be an individually-powered form of public transit?

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    the next big thing will be Shoes Sharing Program.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    The counter argument would be that tax money already pays for roads, public transit, emergency services, etc. Would bike sharing be an individually-powered form of public transit?
    If it's done intelligently as part of a larger strategy to encourage the use of alternative and public transportation, it might be ok (though the bike rental shouldn't be completely free for the user). I would be opposed to what's going on in Paris, since the system is apparently poorly implemented and secured. The city paying to replace the bikes is the definition of throwing good money after bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim View Post
    Ya wanna bet? The programs that are already in place have HUGE theft problems and that was noted above with verifiable numbers. The bikes show up on Ebay all the time.
    Do I like the idea...yep. Do I think it is a good use for tax money...NO WAY IN HELL. I know that it will cost a fortune because of the thefts and vandalism. The US has enough money issues without spending more right now. I hear the Paris bikes cost about $4,000 US. What are the US bikes going to cost?
    The problems with Paris' velib program have been greatly exaggerated: http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/02/1...y-exaggerated/

    Can't find a link, but when I was speaking with someone for B-Cycle, the bikes Denver uses only cost about $600. Plus with the GPS equipped on each of them, they can be easily traced.
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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Here's what the Denver bike share group has to say on bicycle theft:

    What precautions are being taken to prevent vandalism and theft?

    Bikes will be equipped with technology such as GPS and RFID tags (radio-frequency identification) for tracking and security purposes. If a user does not return their B-cycle within one day, a Denver B-cycle employee will call and notify the user that they must return their bike within the next 24 hours, while they are being charged by the half hour until the bike is returned. If the bike is not returned within 48 hours, the user's credit card will be charged for the cost of the bike, which is $750.

    I'm assuming of course that should the bicycle get stolen from you while its checked out, a police report would be needed to clear your name.

    I really don't think theft will be such a huge deal you guys wanna make it out to be. Sounds like the group running it is taking every precaution.

    Of course, we'll see in the months to come if it become a big deal.
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    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    Plus with the GPS equipped on each of them, they can be easily traced.
    All you have to do is pull the battery powering that, and that's neutered.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    All you have to do is pull the battery powering that, and that's neutered.
    A security screw would make that more difficult.

    Its naive to think none of them would get stolen or vandalized. The idea is to make it difficult and not a worthwhile venture.
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    Well, it is a sad commentary on our society when you can't do things that make sense and are very beneficial because of theft and vandalism. Sad but true.
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    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    With the right battery powered hand held tools I can cut a car in half where it sits in about 10 minutes.

    You don't seriously think a security screw is going to slow somebody with half a clue down on something they can hide for 30 minutes in any alley do you? A lock keeps honest people out. It just slows down the dishonest person...a little.

    Edit....2:01.

    http://www.break.com/usercontent/200...ackman-1577887
    Last edited by Grim; 01-10-10 at 06:30 PM.
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    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    The problems with Paris' velib program have been greatly exaggerated: http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/02/1...y-exaggerated/

    Can't find a link, but when I was speaking with someone for B-Cycle, the bikes Denver uses only cost about $600. Plus with the GPS equipped on each of them, they can be easily traced.
    This really needs to be read by all the bike sharing skeptics. The BBC article posted above has been pretty widely attacked as propoganda from the company running the Velib program, who is making a cash grab. You'll notice the only source in the entire BBC article is a company spokesman.

    Furthermore, the Velib bikes are only 400 euro each.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim View Post
    With the right battery powered hand held tools I can cut a car in half where it sits in about 10 minutes.
    So why don't you worry about your bicycle getting stolen by battery powered tools?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim View Post
    You don't seriously think a security screw is going to slow somebody with half a clue down on something they can hide for 30 minutes in any alley do you? A lock keeps honest people out. It just slows down the dishonest person...a little.
    It makes for a great theft deterrent. Sure, with the right tools, any security device can be broken into. How many thieves do you think there would be walking around the streets of Denver trying to steal these things? They're cheap bicycles with GPS and RFID tags and they're obviously owned by the city.

    If you were a thief, which would you rather steal? A bicycle that is easily identifiable as government owned, or a bicycle that looks like something a regular joe would own?


    Wow, that's just great. Now we all have to be worried about thieves walking around with battery powered tools stealing bicycles and cutting cars in half
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    So why don't you worry about your bicycle getting stolen by battery powered tools?

    It makes for a great theft deterrent. Sure, with the right tools, any security device can be broken into. How many thieves do you think there would be walking around the streets of Denver trying to steal these things? They're cheap bicycles with GPS and RFID tags and they're obviously owned by the city.

    If you were a thief, which would you rather steal? A bicycle that is easily identifiable as government owned, or a bicycle that looks like something a regular joe would own?
    The screw will deter a casual thief, sure. On the other hand, a whole bunch of bicycles of known value, location, and method of attachment would seem to be really tempting for a more professional thief. Those sorts of thieves are much more likely to have power tools (especially for a particular known payoff) and have the resources to "anonymize" the stolen bikes.

    Unlike when you park your bike somewhere and mostly just need to worry about the casual thief wandering by, I think in this case you're going to need a serious deterrent for "professional" bike thieves. I'm not at all convinced that the locking method shown in the video is sufficient.

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