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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-28-08, 07:31 AM   #1
gwd
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Bike Sharing

Yes, here in the US Capital, not just non-car oriented transportation but "sharing" sounds like non-capitalism too. We'll have to watch to see who opposes the program. The article said it isn't being rolled out on the same scale as Paris.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/...Bike-Share.php
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Old 04-28-08, 08:21 AM   #2
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Yes, here in the US Capital, not just non-car oriented transportation but "sharing" sounds like non-capitalism too. We'll have to watch to see who opposes the program. The article said it isn't being rolled out on the same scale as Paris.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/...Bike-Share.php
Looks like a start! What are the current helmet laws in DC? I am sure that will be used as an excuse...

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Old 04-28-08, 08:55 AM   #3
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Looks like a start! What are the current helmet laws in DC? I am sure that will be used as an excuse...

Aaron
I'd say about 50% of bikers wear helmets. People ride motorscooters without helmets. There seems to be an anything goes attitude here about bikes, if you don't interfere with the movement of cars and don't scare pedestrians and stay off the sidewalks in the central business district you're good to go. I like it like that. As more people bike there have been more "No Bike Parking" signs popping up, because some rude bikers block ADA ramps and handrails. If the intersection is clear you can blow through a red light in front of a cop. On the downside of being ignored by the cops is they don't enforce the bikes only lanes. So using the lack of a helmet as an excuse would be pretty lame.
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Old 04-28-08, 09:33 AM   #4
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gwd...just curious...seems that too many places are attempting to mandate helmet use to limit liability. I am not convinced that they are the above all end all answer.

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Old 04-28-08, 09:44 AM   #5
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An organization in Denver wants to do the same thing - or at least have it implement during the Democratic Nat'l Convention this summer.

It mentions a similar program was attempted a few years back, but too many people kept the bikes.

http://www.westword.com/2008-04-24/news/free-and-easy/

*edit to add: let me make my own personal helmet law mandated my myself or my family - not the government.
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Old 04-28-08, 10:02 AM   #6
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Yes, here in the US Capital, not just non-car oriented transportation but "sharing" sounds like non-capitalism too. We'll have to watch to see who opposes the program. The article said it isn't being rolled out on the same scale as Paris.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/...Bike-Share.php
Of course they'd have to start something cool like this a year after I move away My wife and I lived car-free in DC for six of the ten years we lived there (and the other four years the car just spent most of its time rusting on the street). I mostly got around by bicycle, and she used the bus more often. We also used Zipcar when we needed a car for a few hours... we even found it comparable to renting a car when we wanted to go somewhere for the weekend. I always thought it would be cool to have a bicycle sharing program as well.

Whenever people ask me about getting around while visiting DC the first thing I tell them is to forget about renting a car... driving is absolutely the worst way to get around DC. I tell them to use Metro, ride a bus, or take a cab... but that renting a bicycle or just wearing comfortable walking shoes is also recommended. The bicycle is a great way to see the monuments. It will be interesting to see if this program is more popular among the locals or the tourists. I could see how both would find it useful.

Only one problem though: DC is quite hilly, and I can picture many taking a bike to ride from say... Tenley Town to Georgetown, but then taking the bus back to Tenley Town. All the bikes will end up at the stations downtown and by the river, while the stations at the top of the hills will be empty!

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Old 04-28-08, 10:42 AM   #7
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Only one problem though: DC is quite hilly, and I can picture many taking a bike to ride from say... Tenley Town to Georgetown, but then taking the bus back to Tenley Town. All the bikes will end up at the stations downtown and by the river, while the stations at the top of the hills will be empty!

Sean
We'll have to see. The buses have bike racks and the subway has loosened up about bikes on trains. If the tourists are instructed on bikes on transit there should be no problem with those who can't deal with hills. Union station to all the main tourist sites is the flat part of town. I know the cathedral and Russian embassy are up hill and tourists have been showing up in the Adams Morgan region lately but thats just one little hill and there are plenty of watering holes along the way. That will be interesting if the share bikes tend to aggregate in the low spots like they're some kind of liquid.
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Old 04-28-08, 11:03 AM   #8
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Cool looking bikes. I wonder why the front wheel is smaller than the rear.

Last edited by andmalc; 04-28-08 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 04-28-08, 11:04 AM   #9
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Amsterdam, Portland and Toronto have all experimented with bike share programs. They seem to be intermittently successful.
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Old 04-28-08, 01:53 PM   #10
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I'm very glad they're finally trying this in the US, and I give credit to Clear Channel Outdoor. I do foresee a couple potential problems that the Velolibre service in Paris, for example, has tried to eliminate.

The Smart bike has a hefty annual fee of $40; Velolibre has hourly rates and a smaller annual fee. This might encourage more tourists and casual users to participate.

Velolibre's hourly rates encourage people to return the bike to a stand if they're not going to be riding for a few minutes. This feature keeps the bikes in circulation, and also discourages theft. I'm afraid that a lot of bikes in DC will be stolen if people leave them sitting outside a store or restaurant for even a few minutes.

Also, there has to be a critical mass of bikes and stations to make the program work. If you have to walk several blocks to find a station, and there's a good chance that there won't be a bike available at the station when you get there, people won't be able to rely on the SmartBikes as a reliable transit mode.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:26 PM   #11
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Also, there has to be a critical mass of bikes and stations to make the program work. If you have to walk several blocks to find a station, and there's a good chance that there won't be a bike available at the station when you get there, people won't be able to rely on the SmartBikes as a reliable transit mode.
Yesterday I had to go to a meeting down by Union station the Amtrak, commuter rail, and subway station. I walked around and saw no evidence of any bike sharing there in the most obvious spot. It doesn't look good if a tourist disembarking within sight of the capitol has no obvious signs for the bike sharing program. The bike activists here seem to be more thoughtful than that. Something isn't right if the bike sharing isn't obvious at the train station.
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Old 04-29-08, 07:47 PM   #12
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It's funny.

I could car-share no problem. I could not give a rat's arse what I drive. But I'm very picky about what I ride in terms of a bike.

All of the bikes would have to be fixed gears with Brooks saddles and 28mm tires. Otherwise, I'd rather walk.
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Old 04-29-08, 09:31 PM   #13
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I could not give a rat's arse what I drive. But I'm very picky about what I ride in terms of a bike.

All of the bikes would have to be fixed gears with Brooks saddles
Some people would worry that the rat's arse had been on the Brooks saddle before them.
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Old 04-30-08, 02:42 AM   #14
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We use fleet bikes at the plant I work at, fortunately for the most part they are assigned and you keep yours locked unless you are using it. On occasion when I have had to borrow someone else's it has been a bit of PITA because I set my bike up for me. But over short distances you can ride anything for a bit.

I like the concept of both car share and bike share, I will be interested to see if the program grows or is scrapped.

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Old 05-05-08, 08:10 PM   #15
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Cool looking bikes. I wonder why the front wheel is smaller than the rear.
So they can be used as postal bikes if things don't work out?

That makes the bike always run downhill, so pedaling is easier.
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