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Dockless Bike Sharing

Old 07-20-18, 11:39 AM
  #26  
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I read that one factor feeding the problem in China is that venture capital is funding these companies, so they're kicking the loss down the road.
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Old 07-20-18, 11:50 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It's not the fault of the business when vandals attack the bikes.
Yes. Yes it is.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 11:51 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Yes. Yes it is.
I don't know how you are thinking about this, but in general when someone vandalizes property that doesn't belong to them, it is the vandal's fault and not the owner of the property.
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Old 07-20-18, 11:55 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
There has to be a way to secure these bikes against vandalism. Maybe something like a car-alarm that blasts noise when they are bumped.
There is. Instead of just locking the wheel, provide a lock that locks the bike to a stationary object. Make it clear to users that if they do not do this and the bike ends up in a creek, they will be responsible for damages.

It *is* a business model issue. Docked bike share have a much lower incidence of bikes being vandalized and abandoned. Why? Because their business model addresses that. Dockless doesn't do that, and they end up with a mess.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 12:17 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
There is. Instead of just locking the wheel, provide a lock that locks the bike to a stationary object. Make it clear to users that if they do not do this and the bike ends up in a creek, they will be responsible for damages.
It's definitely not a bad idea to encourage locking to stationary objects. A way to encourage that might be to give a small discount if you lock it to something stationary. I also think some security cams to catch vandals as they pick up the bikes would not cost too much. The bikes are already outfitted with gps and electronic equipment as I understand it. I'm actually surprised no one has patented a bike frame with built in minicams for security yet.

It *is* a business model issue. Docked bike share have a much lower incidence of bikes being vandalized and abandoned. Why? Because their business model addresses that. Dockless doesn't do that, and they end up with a mess.
Using docks to reduce the chance of problems might be a good idea, but that doesn't make it the only good business model. Obviously there are limits that dock-dependency brings with it that are solved by dockless sharing, otherwise there would be no reason to have dockless sharing. We just need to come up with more effective anti-vandalism technologies.
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Old 07-20-18, 01:03 PM
  #31  
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I don't think there *is* a reason for dockless sharing. I think it's a stupid concept.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-20-18, 01:40 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It's definitely not a bad idea to encourage locking to stationary objects. A way to encourage that might be to give a small discount if you lock it to something stationary. I also think some security cams to catch vandals as they pick up the bikes would not cost too much. The bikes are already outfitted with gps and electronic equipment as I understand it. I'm actually surprised no one has patented a bike frame with built in minicams for security yet.

Using docks to reduce the chance of problems might be a good idea, but that doesn't make it the only good business model. Obviously there are limits that dock-dependency brings with it that are solved by dockless sharing, otherwise there would be no reason to have dockless sharing. We just need to come up with more effective anti-vandalism technologies.
What would those be, and even if potentially effective (doubtful), who are the "we" who would pay for them?

1. In-bike security: ineffective. Short of contact i.e.d.s, which would rather defeat the purpose (don't you think?), nothing you can do to/with a free-standing bike is going to prevent vandalism. The expense of installing preventative technologies (e.g. little bitty mini-cams) has to be borne by someone. Those investing their capital in a dockless bike-share company want a profit; futile 'security' measures like mini-cams will cut too much into the margins, and anyway what good would they do? What, you think persons predisposed to vandalism are idiots: "Hi bike: here's a full-frontal face pic for you before I throw you into the river." And even if they are, who the hell is going to monitor such devices, let alone identify and go after the 'perps'? Police? They'd laugh in your face, and rightly so.

I think even such measures as users being required to lock the bike to a secure object would prove deterrent to dockless bike share usage; the whole point of such a system is to encourage convenience: use 'em/leave 'em anywhere. Other notions, like holding 'last known users' accountable for subsequent damage/loss would simply stop usage dead in the water. No one in her/his right mind would rent a citybike under such a condition.

2. Property-based surveillance/monitoring systems to 'police' dockless bike-share bike vandalism: ridiculous. If -- even if -- you could identify a 'perp' from such footage, who the hell is going to pay for the costs of monitoring the footage to catch said perps, let alone the costs of law enforcement to do anything about it. Municipal policing budgets are stretched to the limit virtually everywhere, at least in more-or-less free societies, and taxpayers, through their municipal councils, are most certainly not going to foot the bill for the installation of monitoring systems, where none exist, for the purpose of reducing dockless bike-share bike vandalism. And even where such systems do exist, as they do in many major cities, or are approved and installed for other reasons, law enforcement is most certainly not going to devote time/energy to monitor footage to track down bicycle vandals, ffs. Law enforcement has better things to do with its limited resources (time; personnel).

In my opinion, the susceptibility of 'dockless bike-share' to misuse, vandalism, and its potential thereby to constitute a public nuisance, is an inherent weakness in the concept relative to properly-constituted 'dock-based' systems. Both systems are vulnerable to misuse/abuse, but the latter much less so than the former, if the evidence to date is anything to go by.
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Old 07-20-18, 02:09 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
What would those be, and even if potentially effective (doubtful), who are the "we" who would pay for them?
Security tech is a big industry. What really amazes me is that there are still areas with no security cams considering how cheap they are to produce and install nowadays. I think many buildings don't install them because of some romantic ideas about privacy, but when vandals are unapologetically threatening property to make it go away, suddenly privacy seems more like a liability than something to protect.


1. In-bike security: ineffective. Short of contact i.e.d.s, which would rather defeat the purpose (don't you think?), nothing you can do to/with a free-standing bike is going to prevent vandalism. The expense of installing preventative technologies (e.g. little bitty mini-cams) has to be borne by someone. Those investing their capital in a dockless bike-share company want a profit; futile 'security' measures like mini-cams will cut too much into the margins, and anyway what good would they do? What, you think persons predisposed to vandalism are idiots: "Hi bike: here's a full-frontal face pic for you before I throw you into the river." And even if they are, who the hell is going to monitor such devices, let alone identify and go after the 'perps'? Police? They'd laugh in your face, and rightly so.
1) vandal grabs bike

2) motion sensor triggers camera to take pic, which is stored within frame.

3) loud 'car-alarm' noise goes off to draw attention to vandal and irritate others, which creates negative social pressure against messing with bikes the same way it does with cars.

4) when you recover the damaged bike, you pull out the memory chip from inside the frame and do with it as you would with shoplifters, convenient store robberies, etc. e.g. post it on local TV news etc


I think even such measures as users being required to lock the bike to a secure object would prove deterrent to dockless bike share usage; the whole point of such a system is to encourage convenience: use 'em/leave 'em anywhere. Other notions, like holding 'last known users' accountable for subsequent damage/loss would simply stop usage dead in the water. No one in her/his right mind would rent a citybike under such a condition.
I agree, I think you can encourage users to lock the bikes to something stationary by giving them a discount, but if you hold them accountable for someone vandalizing the bike after they lock it, that would be a deterrent to using the service.


2. Property-based surveillance/monitoring systems to 'police' dockless bike-share bike vandalism: ridiculous. If -- even if -- you could identify a 'perp' from such footage, who the hell is going to pay for the costs of monitoring the footage to catch said perps, let alone the costs of law enforcement to do anything about it. Municipal policing budgets are stretched to the limit virtually everywhere, at least in more-or-less free societies, and taxpayers, through their municipal councils, are most certainly not going to foot the bill for the installation of monitoring systems, where none exist, for the purpose of reducing dockless bike-share bike vandalism. And even where such systems do exist, as they do in many major cities, or are approved and installed for other reasons, law enforcement is most certainly not going to devote time/energy to monitor footage to track down bicycle vandals, ffs. Law enforcement has better things to do with its limited resources (time; personnel).
I'm surprised there aren't more private security companies that offer to install cameras on private property for the sake of keeping track of violators. This is not something that would just benefit bike shares. This video data could be sold to victims of any crime to help them prosecute their offenders. Certainly businesses would like to be able to prosecute vandals who harm or deface their property. If police don't have the resources to deal with it, you can file a lawsuit. If nothing else works, you can go vandalize their property and see if the police do anything about it for them.


In my opinion, the susceptibility of 'dockless bike-share' to misuse, vandalism, and its potential thereby to constitute a public nuisance, is an inherent weakness in the concept relative to properly-constituted 'dock-based' systems. Both systems are vulnerable to misuse/abuse, but the latter much less so than the former, if the evidence to date is anything to go by.
So do you think this will permantly prevent dockless bike/scooter sharing from ever becoming a widely available transportation option? Or do you think something will happen at some point to make it a possibility? It's kind of dark to imagine that vandals will be our ultimate overlords determining what is and isn't viable in public areas, don't you think?
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Old 07-20-18, 02:13 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
I don't think there *is* a reason for dockless sharing. I think it's a stupid concept.
Are you biased against it for some reason, or have you just not thought it out? You seem awfully closed-minded to not be biased. Docking a share bike severely limits where you can pick one up and where you can leave it. If you want to go somewhere, you first have to find a dock, walk there, then bike to another dock nearby your destination, then walk from the dock to your destination. With dockless sharing, you just grab a bike, go to your destination, lock it and done.
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Old 07-20-18, 02:17 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Security tech is a big industry. What really amazes me is that there are still areas with no security cams considering how cheap they are to produce and install nowadays. I think many buildings don't install them because of some romantic ideas about privacy, but when vandals are unapologetically threatening property to make it go away, suddenly privacy seems more like a liability than something to protect.




1) vandal grabs bike

2) motion sensor triggers camera to take pic, which is stored within frame.

3) loud 'car-alarm' noise goes off to draw attention to vandal and irritate others, which creates negative social pressure against messing with bikes the same way it does with cars.

4) when you recover the damaged bike, you pull out the memory chip from inside the frame and do with it as you would with shoplifters, convenient store robberies, etc. e.g. post it on local TV news etc




I agree, I think you can encourage users to lock the bikes to something stationary by giving them a discount, but if you hold them accountable for someone vandalizing the bike after they lock it, that would be a deterrent to using the service.




I'm surprised there aren't more private security companies that offer to install cameras on private property for the sake of keeping track of violators. This is not something that would just benefit bike shares. This video data could be sold to victims of any crime to help them prosecute their offenders. Certainly businesses would like to be able to prosecute vandals who harm or deface their property. If police don't have the resources to deal with it, you can file a lawsuit. If nothing else works, you can go vandalize their property and see if the police do anything about it for them.




So do you think this will permantly prevent dockless bike/scooter sharing from ever becoming a widely available transportation option? Or do you think something will happen at some point to make it a possibility? It's kind of dark to imagine that vandals will be our ultimate overlords determining what is and isn't viable in public areas, don't you think?
I don't see it as 'dark' at all, though I know what you mean here. Just the way of the world; always has been. 'Public' facilities have always been and will continue to be vulnerable to misuse -- some inherently more vulnerable than others.

Dockless bike-share schemes simply strike me as inherently vulnerable in ways that 'docking' systems are not, relatively speaking, and I think that at present the costs (private and/or public; tangible and intangible) of reducing that vulnerability would not be justified by results.

I might be proven wrong; I hope so. In an 'ideal' urban world, such systems are a very good idea re. intra-urban point-to-point transportation. Unfortunately, folks ain't 'ideal'
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Old 07-20-18, 02:34 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
Dockless bike-share schemes simply strike me as inherently vulnerable in ways that 'docking' systems are not, relatively speaking, and I think that at present the costs (private and/or public; tangible and intangible) of reducing that vulnerability would not be justified by results.
I don't see why they would be any more vulnerable to vandalism than anything else in public, such as cars, lamp posts, trash cans, store fronts, etc. etc. If it was so difficult to stop vandalism, then why wouldn't there be constant vandalism against all these things all the time? What I really think is going on is that dockless sharing has some enemies, just like other kinds of sharing businesses, so vandals are targeting these bikes and scooters for that reason; but no matter, it shouldn't be too long and difficult a process to figure out a way to police and/or deter it, the way every other form of vandalism gets policed and/or deterred.

If nothing else, there will be some thugs who quietly watch for vandalism and then go harass/attack the vandal afterward. This will happen a couple times, make the news, and that should deter most vandals from taking the risk of getting beaten; unless people are really willing to risk confrontation to vandalize a share bike.

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Old 07-20-18, 03:02 PM
  #37  
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So far the docked bikeshares seem to be working, so I'm not sure why one would choose to do it hobo-style.

The big issue with the Eugene and Portland bike shares is that they are only in the central business districts. And, prices and out of area fees are significant enough that they really don't make practical commuters.

The question is whether the established docked systems will expand more into the local neighborhoods, or if they will remain in the city centers.

One might imagine dockless actually competing if they allowed use in a greater area, and perhaps enforced strict rules.

I.E. require users to lock the bikes to a solid designated bike rack.

So, dumping them on a lawn or in the street would be equivalent to not locking, and the users would be fined or lose their deposit.

The issue, or course, is that many local businesses have very small bike racks. I know some businesses that have a single double-hump wiggle rack. Ideally it holds about 3 bikes. More if really squished in? So, if 2 slots were taken by dockless bike-share bikes, only one slot would be left for active customers.
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Old 07-20-18, 03:48 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I don't know how you are thinking about this, but in general when someone vandalizes property that doesn't belong to them, it is the vandal's fault and not the owner of the property.
If the owners' business model is to use shared public space like sidewalks and alleys, and quasi private space like the front walls of retail or residential buildings, as their transaction zone, then either they need to provide some oversight to ensure that space isn't degraded by their business activities, or we as citizens need to rein them in or shut them down.
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Old 07-20-18, 04:52 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
If the owners' business model is to use shared public space like sidewalks and alleys, and quasi private space like the front walls of retail or residential buildings, as their transaction zone, then either they need to provide some oversight to ensure that space isn't degraded by their business activities, or we as citizens need to rein them in or shut them down.
So people can park private cars in parking lots wherever they go, and we can park our bikes on sidewalks, but when it's a share bike, it's a problem?

Ok, I can understand that if you park your car or bike in a problematic way, someone can approach you as the owner to move your bike or car. In general this doesn't happen, though. People park badly in parking lots, etc. If a bike or scooter is parked badly on a sidewalk, why can't someone just set it aside instead of vandalizing it? If I am trying to park my bike at a bike rack and some other bike is positioned to my inconvenience, I gently move it, turn the handlebars, etc. so my bike will fit. I treat others' property the way I want mine to be treated. Why is it too much to expect people to treat share bikes with the same respect?
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Old 07-20-18, 04:53 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
If the owners' business model is to use shared public space like sidewalks and alleys, and quasi private space like the front walls of retail or residential buildings, as their transaction zone, then either they need to provide some oversight to ensure that space isn't degraded by their business activities, or we as citizens need to rein them in or shut them down.

Once again we seem to agree. Plus I am not sure public funds should be used to put up camera's on Private property to protect a private business not related to either the public or the business that said camera is installed. Promoting a city wide CCTV type of surveillance system like they have in London sounds a bit big brother like to me but who knows?


Maybe the biggest issue is that dock-less bikes are easy targets. They can be picked up and moved. If they are in a remote place that is a very easy process. In many urban centers benches and trashcans are chained to the sidewalk with red head screws. People will move anything that isn't bolted down. The problem my not be the customer, it quite easily has nothing to do with the customer. It may have more to do with the people that tag our walls, street signs, railroad box cars and even city buses. Crimes of secluded opportunity. JMHO
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Old 07-20-18, 05:34 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Once again we seem to agree. Plus I am not sure public funds should be used to put up camera's on Private property to protect a private business not related to either the public or the business that said camera is installed. Promoting a city wide CCTV type of surveillance system like they have in London sounds a bit big brother like to me but who knows?


Maybe the biggest issue is that dock-less bikes are easy targets. They can be picked up and moved. If they are in a remote place that is a very easy process. In many urban centers benches and trashcans are chained to the sidewalk with red head screws. People will move anything that isn't bolted down. The problem my not be the customer, it quite easily has nothing to do with the customer. It may have more to do with the people that tag our walls, street signs, railroad box cars and even city buses. Crimes of secluded opportunity. JMHO
This.
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Old 07-20-18, 06:12 PM
  #42  
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I was reading this article about dockless scooters being removed from public property and it suddenly occurred to me that removing bikes or scooters in this way, whether they are privately owned or shared, could violate some kind of law against seizing property. I know that cars can be towed, but aren't there usually laws that say no-parking zones must be posted and warn of towing? I don't think you can just tow a car because it's in your way, so I don't see why that would be legal with a bike or scooter either.
https://fox6now.com/2018/07/20/st-pa...n-late-friday/

To put it another way, there's no real legitimate way to distinguish between a rented vehicle and a privately owned one. It's not like you can tow rental cars in ways that you can't tow private cars just because the car is a rental.

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Old 07-20-18, 06:22 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
sounds a bit big brother like to me but who knows?
It is, but what are you supposed to do when vandals can't behave themselves? Other options are to rig the bikes with loud car-alarms and/or to have those exploding paint canisters like they use for bank robberies. When you park and lock the bike, you set the paint canister to be triggered by sudden motions so if the vandal really wants to throw the bike somewhere, they have to do it very VERY gently with smooth, gradual motion. Then, when the paint gets all over a nearby building or car, it's easy to find the vandal who did it because they will also be covered in the same paint. I bet that wouldn't have to happen too many times to deter people from vandalizing the bikes.
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Old 07-20-18, 06:45 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It's definitely not a bad idea to encourage locking to stationary objects.
It's a terrible idea. That might work if cities or businesses put up a lot more bike racks, but otherwise people will feel they need to lock to water and gas pipes and wheelchair ramps and what have you and they'll create a nuisance and a bunch of hazards.

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Old 07-20-18, 07:40 PM
  #45  
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My City has dockless bikes (Lime). You pay to use them, they're not free. They have GPS trackers. When people tried to find bikes a few weeks ago and hardly any showed on our City map on the app, a few folks contacted Lime and they had vans out picking up bikes and redistributing them within our city in one day. Sometimes I will see one dumped on the ground instead of using the kickstand. Once I saw someone had stolen the seatpost/saddle. But 90% of the time they are fully functional. They seem to be used mostly by kids (high school), parents following their little kids on bikes, and folks grocery shopping. My City has a huge percentage of bike owners/users so I wasn't sure there would be any demand, but there is. The big issue is the next city over has an exclusive contract with a docked bike company, so the dockless bikes can't terminate their rides in that city (violates contract) so folks can't use them to go one way to a destination there. That's really stupid - the share bike system needs to be universally accepted in all areas for drop off to encourage more riders instead of cars. My son said a tenant in his building had stuck one in their basement bike room - a big no no - but apparently Lime Bike sent someone out to find it and the "thief" was fined $350 per the agreement on the app. Ooops. I can't imagine why anyone would steal one - they weigh a freaking ton!!! Ride like crap, too, imo. And the bike thieves around here are connoisseurs. They only steal the good stuff.
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Old 07-20-18, 09:04 PM
  #46  
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As I see it tge business model relies on considerate customers and non customers to assist them by finding a safe and secure place to leave a bike that advertises itself as a leave anywhere system. Here is one big cities take on it.

https://money.cnn.com/2018/02/05/tec...ofo/index.html
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Old 07-20-18, 09:16 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
It's a terrible idea. That might work if cities or businesses put up a lot more bike racks, but otherwise people will feel they need to lock to water and gas pipes and wheelchair ramps and what have you and they'll create a nuisance and a bunch of hazards.
I am a big fan of folding handlebars and pedals that make it possible to stack bikes side-by-side, so maybe the best thing is to encourage locking share bikes to other share bikes in a stack. I think it's also good to lock them to stationary objects when it's convenient, but that requires good judgment on the part of the user for the reasons you mention.
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Old 07-20-18, 11:25 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I am a big fan of folding handlebars and pedals that make it possible to stack bikes side-by-side, so maybe the best thing is to encourage locking share bikes to other share bikes in a stack. I think it's also good to lock them to stationary objects when it's convenient, but that requires good judgment on the part of the user for the reasons you mention.
I'm not opposed to the concept of dockless bikes, I was just disagreeing about some implementation issues. If docked, dockless or private bikes continue to proliferate, then cities and businesses will probably continue to install more bike racks, and it could be a legal expectation or at least promoted as good etiquette that dockless bikes must be left at a rack so they aren't blocking a door or sidewalk. Businesses who provide car parking could easily replace a few spots with racks and city by- laws that sometimes require buildings to have a certain amount of car parking could be modified to include bike parking. Perhap dockless bikes would still just have a wheel lock, or maybe a cable that pulls out of the frame so they can loop it to the rack. Perhaps wherever there is free curbside car parking the city would put a bike rack in one small portion of it to be fair to all road users.

But if the dockless bikes outnumber the available racks or are frequently ridden to sites with no bike racks, telling people they have to lock them to "something" is just going to cause problems for other people.

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Old 07-21-18, 09:31 AM
  #49  
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I'm already having to life those heavy Lime bikes and move them when someone leaves them next to a rack, to which I need to actually lock my own bike. People are pretty
good in my community about leaving them in the corner bulb-outs on main streets. Side streets are a little less predictable but there aren't any racks on those residential streets anyway.
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Old 07-21-18, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I'm already having to life those heavy Lime bikes and move them when someone leaves them next to a rack, to which I need to actually lock my own bike. People are pretty
good in my community about leaving them in the corner bulb-outs on main streets. Side streets are a little less predictable but there aren't any racks on those residential streets anyway.
The sidewalk in front of my house is about 4' wide, with no space on either side, so if I rode a share bike home I couldn't leave it standing with a kick stand as it would block the sidewalk or get knocked over into my hedge or the street. Across the street is a wrought iron school fence set back a bit in the school lawn, so I could lean it against that or lock it, but I don't have permission and it would interfere with mowing the strip of grass or it might be there causing a visual annoyance for days or weeks. So there really is no proper place to leave it.

There are a couple of public bike posts about 600 m away on a main street, so I guess the correct behaviour would be to park it against one of those, and walk the last bit. However lots of users won't be that conscientious.

Last edited by cooker; 07-21-18 at 10:07 AM.
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