I had shockingly bad experiences with OBike - extremely inaccurate locations for their bikes, broken seat, zero response from support when I explained I couldn't lock the bike, and apparently no restrictions in the whole country, so bikes end up all over the country as well as in people's residences or workplaces (not to mention canals and rivers). They dumped hundreds of bikes in central London and a couple weeks later there were none at all.
Mobike seems like they have their heads more switched on, but the seat on current models is so low that their bikes (in London at least) are barely usable to anyone at average adult height or above.
The official London scheme aka Boris Bikes is still the best, but restricted to central London. The docks have three downsides over the newer model - (1) docks can get full and (2) you still have the last-mile problem walking to/from the dock (3) if unfamiliar with your destination, your ride ends hunting around for a dock to park in or you have to plan ahead and remember where to park ... even then it might be full.
One good thing though is they apparently move bikes around in vans to help fill capacity (mainly because commuters move them central in the morning and away again at night). I don't think the new wave of bike startups expanding to new cities every week are hiring drivers to move their stock around.
Re: vans -- dockless providers do this too (at least in DC, where they're required to)
Edit: and since this is HN, I've gotta point out that JUMP is also the only dockless operator in DC with an easy to use & publicly accessible API.
 https://dc.jumpmobility.com/opendata & https://sf.jumpmobility.com/opendata
Because they aren't physically locked onto anything, it has become a game to see what stupid place you can put an OBike. Recently they fished a couple of dozen out of the Yarra River. People think it's amusing to just abuse them. Half of them have the wheel lock broken off them, so they're free to ride.
I think it's an Australian culture thing, there is a lack of respect for property. OBike seems to work a lot better in Singapore, where people have respect for property.
Fortunately there are now so many bike startups in Singapore that you have a wide choice to pick from, and all of them are currently free. I went to the market yesterday with my mother in law, her riding a Mobike and me an Ofo, both checked out with my account.
Mobike seems the best run although I agree with the low seat problem (which is less of an issue in Asia). However, there are 3-4 different models at any one time so I suspect the company will iterate towards different models for different markets, including in size. Some of the engineering on the newer prototypes is quite interesting, and copied a few months later by Ofo, which seems to be the other company with actually active management (after a disastrous start with non-GPS-tracked bikes which were routinely "retired" by users).
As for bad parking, it is a function of enforcement. In Singapore, the companies are fined a substantial amount per bike if the government has to come and clear them. So there is apparently a sub half hour pickup time for most if you report it parked incorrectly (e.g. in a bus lane). It sounds like Australian cities have not yet put their act together in that respect. Fine the companies $500 per bike dropped in a creek and watch the problem disappear...
I live near a small creek in central melbourne. My morning commute passes usually 3-4 newly trashed O-bikes that have been ghostied into the creek, or recently fished out by a neighbour.
I recently spotted a guy with a super nice camera stalking the riverbank and jokingly asked him if he was O-bike spotting. He replied that he was, I pointed him to two submerged on the other bank and he said he was making an arts film about O-Bikes coming to life and joining together like voltron. The company had even promised to donate some trashed O-Bikes to him. At this point, I wonder what their business model is.
Same as silicon valley, keep growing to attract more and more venture capital, worry about profitability later.
The sibling comment is right, though; I don't know how you could run this successfully with that level of mortality rate eating into your bottom line.
Australians lack respect not just for (other's) property but for other people and society in general.
In my opinion, Australians on the whole are rude and selfish.
I guess it depends on where you live. South Eastern and Central Melbourne is a much nicer are than Bendigo (I assume you've at least been to Bendigo given your username).
As an Aussie, I'd term is as bordering on obnoxious and irresponsible at times - and it saddens me to write this.
Whether in Europe, South America, or Asia, everybody has a funny story about what we've allegedly done - whether it's pissing on the eternal flame in Paris, stupid stunts with climbing temples in Cambodia, trying to plank on idiotic places in Singapore hotel balconies, or just general pranks.
My parents are originally from Singapore, and like it or not, they at least have the law and order thing down pat.
Look at the mess we've made with shopping trolleys from Coles/Woolworths...
So don't blame the bike companies for us deciding to do stupid things with their property.
It's like somebody blaming a shop for graffiti, because they left their wall empty...
I am prepared to put up with a bit of 'larrikinism' if the alternative is a society where nobody ever questions/breaks the rules.
- Riding without a bicycle helmet: $319
- Riding furiously, recklessly or negligently (whatever that means): $425
- Cycling on footpath and over 12 years of age: $106
I wonder if the laws are because Australians are "larrikins" or the other way around.
You're damn right about Aussies (and also Brits and Kiwis) having stories about doing dumb shit overseas. It's almost a point of national pride, "hey, let me tell you about this time I disrespected an entire culture by pissing in an inappropriate location while pissed!".
Really? I don't hang out with brits, kiwis, or aussies, despite being kiwi myself, but traveling around Asia people seem to love kiwis a lot.
When I first moved to Singapore I noticed every time a taxi driver asked where I was from, the moment I said New Zealand he got excited.
I tried a few times saying England, America, Australia, and if I named any of those countries it was always the same: "Oh, ok." and nothing more for the rest of the trip.
I asked a taxi driver one day and he said, along the lines of: "america's are really arrogant and tell me how to get where they want to go, british people never want to talk, and australians are really loud and rude, but new zealanders are always very polite and chatty"
I honestly don't know how much truth there is to this, it's not like I've done a scientific study or anything, but I've honestly never heard anything bad about kiwis while traveling around Asia...
That's everywhere in Australia, except Sydney.
People in Singapore have much more respect for the rules and following the rules, plus the consequences are more severe for breaking the rules.
Meanwhile in Australia, bending and breaking the rules is a national sport. Also, the consequences for breaking the rules are much less severe. If a cop caught you throwing a bike into a tree or some other amusing place, they would most likely make you take it out of the tree and nothing more.
- Riding furiously, recklessly or negligently (whatever that means): $425
- Cycling on footpath and over 12 years of age: $106
And people wonder why Australians break laws, these are fines in NSW (which includes Sydney).
Trundling down the footpath to the shops on a Sunday morning: $425 fine! No wonder Sydney is so car centric.
Um... nope. It's just as bad in Singapore.
Stop blaming Australians for being fed up with companies who use littering as a business model. These shitty bikes are all over the public footpaths here and people are tired of it.
Look at the mess Aussies have made with shopping trolleys from Coles/Woolworths. The supermarkets got so fed up they implemented locks on the wheels - nearly every supermarket here does this now.
The only reason the bikes are worse is because they're lighter/easier to move than trolleys, and the locks aren't as hard to overcome as for trolleys.
That, and Australia is in general very un-bike friendly. It's a cultural thing - we love our V6/V8 engines, our big SUVs, and our giant McMansions - we essentially copy the US in those traits. You compare this to say, Europe, or Japan which tend to be much more bike friendly.
Their business model is leaving their shitty bikes all over public property. If you want to open a food stand you need a license and to comply with regulations, you can't just setup on any footpath, but oBikes are just left everywhere.
Correct, though the term used for enabling this kind of bad behaviour, as the bike company is doing, is "creating an attractive nuisance" and it's not blameless.
> It states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an object on the land that is likely to attract children. The doctrine is designed to protect children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object, by imposing a liability on the landowner.
People stealing and vandalising bikes aren't children wandering into a hazard.
There are differences, and there are similarities. I have heard "attractive nuisance" used (not in a legal context) in a looser sense that covers this case - ie. when you can legitimately ask "well, what else did you think was going to happen?"
Well, you linked to the legal context, so you'll have to excuse me for misunderstanding.
> "well, what else did you think was going to happen?"
People not stealing bikes, vandalising them and throwing them in nature? Do we really have to invent pseudo-legalities to get around the simple fact that people doing this are utter assholes (and criminals), regardless of whether the company providing these bikes have behaved perfectly?
Southern Europe isn’t particularly bike friendly either.
If you have to walk the last mile, how can this bike scheme be 'still the best'?
This is unfathomable to me given that in Beijing, where I live, Mobike and Ofo are primarily used for short journeys, and many of those start/end at a subway station. i.e. these bikes are primarily used for last-mile/first-mile.
Oh, and not sure about how they operate in London, but in Beijing both Mobike and Ofo have moving bikes around in vans as a key part of their operating model.
Another interesting thing is that they have a pretty OK API
That said, and while it's probably built on top of that API, Brussels has an even better API: it lets you submit a geographical area (which you can design manually on their site) and get info on all stations inside it in a single request/response, and you don't even need registration: https://opendata.bruxelles.be/explore/dataset/stations-villo...
I think this is shown by how much they get used, every dock I go by probably sees a full rotations of bikes every 2 days!
The problem with the others, is that the allure of being able to leave your bike anywhere is instantly wiped out by never reliably being able to know where one will be, which also causes issues in distribution.
You cant efficiently redistribute bikes that don't congregate, and in order to be able to find them and not loose them, they need extra electronics, and batteries, and security features. OBikes location is bad because it trusts the location that your phone thinks its in.
A dock being full (or empty) is an relatively uncommon inconvenience for me, but the docks are extremely dense (there are 3 within 1-2 minutes walk of my office, and about 4 1-5 minutes walk from my house), and to help with this, the App they provide will show you the closest stations, as well as how full those stations are. Because of this its never more than a 5 minute issue.
My only complaints are, they're a little heavy, though the hardware is 'good enough' to compensate for this. More councils need them installed (I heard this is just an issue of councils not wanting to pay the fee just yet). And I think they should increase the first cost tier to 40mins, that would make it cost effective as a commuter for alot more people.
My regular routes are Angel->E&C (~22mins), and Angel->Primrose Hill (~15mins)
One “hack” that easily doubles the convenience:
> (3) if unfamiliar with your destination, your ride ends hunting around for a dock to park in or you have to plan ahead and remember where to park ... even then it might be full.
Citymapper has a live view of all docking stations and their occupancy. Without this, you can go absolutely mad.
 ubiquitous transport app in London.
They've had to raise their price almost every year - but at $180/year its still a steal.
When Uber came to NYC I (wrongly) thought that it wasn't going to have such a great impact because of the sheer number of yellow cabs that were never that far away. My initial feeling about Uber Bike if it comes to NYC is that it would be great - and help boost bike rider numbers.
Not true! The official Santander Cycles app lets you hire a bike via your phone. Works well and saves a huge amount of time compared to using the kiosks.
I agree that the current Boris Bikes are the best, though they have a new lighter, smaller bike model which feels a lot more like a Mobike/ofo to ride. Not as nice IMO.
Might look at installing it again, despite its glorious 2.2 star rating :)
Much better is NYC's approach of using "Bike Angels" ( http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/02/09/new_york_s_ci... ) to redistribute. As I understand it, they still use trucks, but this is visionary compared with London's system, which simply adds more (badly driven, polluting) trucks to traffic.
it was my understanding that this is a common practice among all the bike-share programs, and bike sharing ultimately doesn't work without constant re-shuffling of bikes towards high-demand areas.
Are you not able to adjust the seat? Considering the varying heights of people this would seem like a standard expected feature.
Either way, when half the male population is 6ft or above, it seems the bikes are just generally too small, even with the seat extended to their maximum height.
The irony !
Some places have incentives for users to ride bikes to certain docks, but it's not enough to fully balance it.
Just as I struggle a bit to get up a hill, the bike's pedal assist kicks in and helps me out. Ditto for when I'm stopped at a red light and need to get riding fast.
The best part of these bikes are the fact that when I get to my destination, I can lock them up to the closest pole or bike rack and just go.
I wonder if Jump's pricing is going to stick? At $2 it's cheaper per-ride than the non-e Ford Gobikes and easier to park too.
"Rebalancing" trucks go around and move bikes in bad locations, bottoms of hills, bushes, etc.
JUMP bikes lock to something, it's the majority of other dockless providers(ofo, mobike, limebike, spin, etc) that lock their backwheel.
I use the app to tell me where I can find one near my house or office.
Their app is really good. I don't know why I'd want to use the Uber app for this, but I joined the waitlist to try it.
I get a lot out of reading others' comments here, so I was glad to have a chance to write about something I've been using and thinking a lot about.
I am a big bike advocate. I have 12 bikes downstairs, I've raced, and nearly every vacation I've taken in the last 15 years has been bike related. I don't even mind the e-bike trend as much as some people, and I am an uber user occasionally.
I still can't see this working. People like me, who absolutely love bike commuting, we can't stop our bikes from getting stolen. With our 100 dollar locks that are better security than what most people use on the front door of their homes, they still get stolen. I have hope for humanity in general, but my experience has been that people in America just don't consider a bicycle worth any more than paper and ink in the office printer.
They will get treated with disregard, and even more so with an uber logo on them.
Taking this off topic but.. what? Why would anyone "mind" e-bikes? I recognize that you and me are probably in very different filter bubbles but everyone I know is either ambivalent to them or a fan (and owner).
Here in NL bike commutes certainly increased. People used to mostly commute within their city, but now that e-bikes don't suck, I know several people who do 2x 30+km commutes by bike every day without breaking a sweat (literally). And don't even get me started about enabling semi disabled people to bike places again, it's fantastic. Isn't that super neat? What am I missing?
That's on roads. The off road side it is trail damage, people getting stuck out in places they normally couldn't go to, etc.
In fact I don't even recognize the e-bikes you describe. Our e-bikes are normal city bikes (i.e. not sports bikes) but with a battery stashed somewhere.
I am in favor of e-bikes, but these are definitely issues.
I've commuted by bike for about a decade and I've never had a bike stolen. Once I had the seat stolen off a beater I left at a train station, but that was expected. I use two locks, one a hefty cable and the other a U lock with the cable for the other wheel. My philosophy is that if I can't take the bike in, then I'll make my bike seem harder to steal than the next one. Could be luck, but so far, so good.
When I lived in Baltimore I'd take my bike in every night. I was told anything out at night was liable to be stolen. Now I am in Austin and that's not necessary, though I do it anyway.
During the day I lock my bike up at work and aside from the occasional piece of trash people put in my rear crate, doesn't look like anyone touches it. That was true in Baltimore too.
My current commuter cost about $1100 new. I bought it used for about half that about 4 years ago. So not a cheap bike either.
Then you're not making a fair comparison. No-one is going to be taking these bike startup bikes in overnight.
I used to lock my bike on the racks my building had, but I had two or three stolen. I bought a heavy lock and a bike with non-standard bolts on the wheels... then the handlebars and saddle were stolen off it. Now I bring my bike in to my third-floor flat every time.
Sorry to hear about your experience. I'd probably have had a similar experience in Baltimore if I didn't take my bike in overnight.
Isn't that what will make bike sharing popular? I own several bikes (including a somewhat expensive one), but when I want to bike downtown, I take one of the bike-share bikes from in front of the apartment complex next door. That way I don't need to worry about locking it or having it be stolen (and so far, there has always been a bike waiting for me when it was time to bike home).
That’s much more profitable than Uber’s current business model.
And operating barely above break even: Great -- That means reasonable consumer pricing! Hell, make it a public utility like libraries or the post office.
In Santa Monica and the west side of LA we have an electric scooter service called Bird, which was started by a ex-lyft/uber excec, and it has been successfull from an outsider's perspective. The most convenient aspect of this service is that you can drop off the scooter anywhere you want, there are no designated drop off zones, which is a true solution to the last mile problem. Main issues they need to resolve from a user stand point is better inventory allocation (hard to find a pair of or multiple scooters near each other for multiple riders to travel together).
In Dallas, there are 6 different bikeshare companies that all operate with this model of "leave the bike where ever you want when done", and it's resulted in most of the city reviling all of the bikeshare companies. The bikes end up left in the most inconvenient places: knocked over in the middle of the sidewalk, stashed in bushes, knocked into fountains, blocking accessibility ramps, on the side of a road where they can be hit by cars, blocking train tracks, and just in general littered everywhere. You literally can't walk a single block in downtown without seeing at least 50 bikes strewn across the bushes/sidewalks/etc. The city is actually exploring ways to restrict this type of "dockless" bike sharing because it's become such a nuisance.
See some pics here: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-bike-share-mess-ph...
There were two blocking the Metro station last week. I threw them in the bushes. The sheriff at the top of the stairs gave me a thumbs up and said he wished he could have done that.
The City is currently in the process of evaluating restrictions on where the Byrd scooters can be dropped off, to avoid safety hazards like that one.
Eventually the users, company, and cities will adapt and provide better training and designated spots. Assholes abuse every service available to the public. Hell, even social pressure and ridicule from the public may even help solve this problem as people learn to spot someone being an asshole and leaving a scooter somewhere in the way.
Although Im sure plenty of cities will rush to ban them rather than adapt and update old rules to modern technolohical progress. Then stick their fingers in their ears pretending there isnt real value and huge demand for the services, or lessons to be learned from other cities who learned to adapt rather than fight progress.
Why? What would be wrong with simply moving them aside? Are you trying to make a statement? Are you a volunteer part-time member of the Safety Patrol?
I’m not sure why attempting to vandalize/destroy/harm something that isn’t yours is justified because you were offended. Do you smash windshields of illegally parked cars? How about kick dogs that aren’t properly leashed?
I hope they don't handle bikes like their do their websites...
For a moment, I thought the 404 was intentional and this was supposed to be some sort of satire.
I've never had occasion to try it, but I'm very skeptical. It seems like letting people leave the bike more-or-less wherever is optimizing the end-of-ride experience at the expense of pretty much every other part of the operation aside from actually riding the bike.
I don't think I'd want to start my morning commute by hunting around in an app for a nearby bike (and hoping there is one) and then wandering around my neighborhood trying to locate it. I'd much rather have the consistency of walking to a known location near my house and grabbing a bike that I know will be there.
I also don't know that, as someone who has to use the sidewalks when not riding, I'd want to have these things just scattered all over the place. Which I fear would be the case. When people are parking these things, it's not _their_ bike, so they won't be so worried about doing a good job of it.
Last, having the bikes scattered at random has got to really do a number on the logistics costs. Going to a relatively constrained list of known locations to retrieve bikes that are due for maintenance sounds a lot cheaper to me than having to drive all over the city, possibly including going to places where the van can't go like random spots in the middle of public parks.
Here's a video that summarizes the problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdsb2wwn-7g (you only need to watch a few minutes to get the idea)
The purpose is to have them everywhere so they're easy to find, but that's also the problem -- if you have too many companies involved, or an irresponsible company involved that just dumps bikes in the city, there are too many bikes. Bikes get left on sidewalks, in streets, in parks, etc. The docked bike share systems don't have that problem because you have to return them to a designated location, but obviously it makes the bikes less ubiquitous.
Portland has a pretty good system where there are many stations, but if a station is full you can lock it at a nearby public rack for free (the station knows it's full). You can also drop it off at any random public rack in the service area for $2. The app tells you where all the available bikes are: https://www.biketownpdx.com/map
>I'd much rather have the consistency of walking to a known location near my house and grabbing a bike that I know will be there.
At least in Tempe, there are competing/complimentary services. One of them is exactly like this (Grid Bikes, is the name).
>I also don't know that, as someone who has to use the sidewalks when not riding, I'd want to have these things just scattered all over the place.
I haven't seen this be a problem yet. Although I have to be honest, if I saw a bike in the sidewalk, I would probably just move it to somewhere more convenient so that nobody else had to deal with it. Sidewalks are community spaecs, and I'd hope that most people would treat them that way.
>Last, having the bikes scattered at random has got to really do a number on the logistics costs. Going to a relatively constrained list of known locations to retrieve bikes that are due for maintenance sounds a lot cheaper to me than having to drive all over the city, possibly including going to places where the van can't go like random spots in the middle of public parks.
Apparently some of the Chinese hubless bike companies have a solution for this: they offer you a bounty (of ride credit) to go and fetch them broken, or out of the way bikes. Pretty cool! I haven't seen that on any of the US services yet.
The dumping and chaos is certainly a problem but I'm confident those details can be solved if city governments are willing to play ball. I've heard in China a lot of the dumping is by city employees who need to fix something but bikes are in the way, so they toss them into piles—but that kind of thing seems like a logistical detail, not an inherent aspect of the system.
The downsides really are only haphazardly-parked bikes and large aggregations of bikes in popular destinations. When those aren't problematic, it's great.
Unfortunately docks don't really provide that, I've had the misfortune of finding an empty dock more than once. It's one of the reasons that drove me to buy my own bike.
Still, it probably beats dockless.
Someone left one at the bike depot near my office and I spent 20 minutes trying to find it before giving up.
That problem should go away when there are more bikes, but as others have said here, then it might lead to crowding issues.
I think we should/will end up with lots of "virtual" parking areas, e.g. one on every block. It would be similar to the virtual commuting "bus line" type routes Uber and Lift are creating, which establish some day-to-day stability, but can easily be updated every few months according to demand. Virtual parking areas would keep things less cluttered and easier to locate, but can still be distributed closely together.
if 600 ppl take a train to a station with 20-50 bike slots there’s no way you will have reliable access. i think most of your comments are FUD. people are inherently good
I don't know if docks are an essential part of the formula - I'm a bit worried about how inherently monopolistic the dock model is - but the dockless model seems like it is inherently in conflict with the idea of keeping the public right-of-way clear for public use. Real estate around places like train stations and major destinations is scarce, and companies really shouldn't have unlimited ability to use that space for storing their equipment, free of charge.
I suppose the city or private property owners could reserve the right to collect nuisance bikes and hold them for bond, sort of like towing improperly parked cars. If bike sharing companies hold the person who got the bike "towed" responsible for any fees resulting from where they left the bike, similar to what would happen with a car share program, then maybe that would do the trick.
Plenty of railway stations (plenty of streets!) surround themselves with car parking, which is a much less efficient use of space compared with bicycle parking.
Here  is above the underground Nørreport station in Copenhagen. Not the main station, but the second busiest. Lots of designated bicycle parking, but the latent demand is probably higher than what's available. At some point, the hassle of finding a place to leave the bicycle outweighs the delay with simply walking through the city centre, just like driving a car.
"Nuisance" bicycles get damaged, so there's pressure not to leave them in the way. In the proper bike rack, or within an area of bike racks, or leaning against a building, seems to count as a proper area. Anywhere else, the bike might get knocked over and not righted. Then the wheels end up tacoed.
But really, for any city that isn't Copenhagen or Amsterdam, converting some car parking spaces into 8-10 bicycle spaces each should leave plenty of room for bicycles.
At Nørreport , there is no car parking, except a taxi rank for three taxis.
A little further away from the city centre, at Forum metro station , there is a little car parking, but still plenty of space for bicycles.
There are counterexamples — parts of London or Rome, for example, although these areas are often so compact that there's little reason to leave 500+ bicycle in one place.
It'll be interesting to see how they enforce the location requirement. i.e. will you be charged if it's stolen because you didnt lock it on a rack? Will they have a known database of every "suitable" bike rack and "nudge" patrons towards them if they lock outside those regions?
In an ideal world, there would be lots of small bike rack units created, but local councils will lag by years to actually build them.
I think it will be better to work with councils to esablish "virtual racks", ie places where the app will show it's fine to park. Ideally augmented by physical signs and so on, but not requiring the full infrastructure of racks, which are somewhat obsolete in this context.
Seems like forcing to use an existing bike rack would be a non-starter, since the whole point of dockless bike sharing is that you can just leave the bike in front of your destination regardless of what is there.
The "eyesore" factor is a trivial downside compared to the massive convenience of just being able to park the bike anywhere.
Dockless sounds great in theory, but in practice, humans are assholes and have no problem tossing the bike on the ground with no care to the fact that it's now blocking the sidewalk, road, etc. Then you also have other people who have no problem vandalizing bikes and essentially creating litter that other people are then responsible for cleaning up.
"Dockless" in theory is only nice if there are a limited number of bikes in distribution. In practice, it means that the employees of the bike rental companies will leave as many of their bikes as they can wherever they want for however long they want (case in point: late last fall there were at least 40 bikes dumped by three rental companies on one two block length of one street in my neighborhood). Cities with city councils that actually care about the quality of life of their residents (SF, Oakland) moved quickly to prohibit these rental companies from spamming their products all over streets, parks, sidewalks, yards. The rest of us have to suffer.
The bikeshare companies also currently seem to be using the method of spamming bikes everywhere and hoping they get used, rather than trying to place them where they are actually needed. There was a picture of one of the companies in Dallas placing bikes on the side of a highway, with no pedestrian access, no sidewalks, and nothing even resembling a bike lane. That's just dangerous.
Fortunately the city is starting to crack down on them a bit, but it's a real shame that these companies took a cool idea and are pretty much ruining it with their piss-poor execution.
This whole thing is like a lab experiment in unregulated business expansion. I can't believe it's gone on for as long as it has.
> humans are assholes
I think that's better demonstrated by the gigantic trucks (polluting, climate damaging, endangering pedestrians etc), rather than the bicycles.
You're saying the problems they cause other people matter less than the convenience they give to you?
10+ bikes lined up on a sidewalk in a parallel and organized fashion actually aren't much of an eyesore. But ten haphazard bikes, often blocking the sidewalk for pedestrians, is chaotic. Our minds - and interpretation of eyesores - respond accordingly.
Chaining a bike to a random object can be a necessity; not everywhere has any bike racks, let alone ones anywhere near where you need them. Chaining a bike to a random object can be perfectly fine.
But people also chain bikes in ways that block access to sidewalks, buildings, and other bits and pieces of the public spaces. It may not be intentional; the way other people use spaces may be different from yours, and it may not be obvious that locking your bike to a particular place may make life more difficult for other people.
2. Where they do have to pay, they pay way under true market value of the land.
Bikes have none of those requirements. Cars definitely pay for the infrastructure they use.
As far as fair market value for the land: what’s the value of a square meter of sidewalk in Manhattan? Are bikes paying fair market value for the sidewalks upon which they park?
These anti-car arguments are starting to get absurd.
Also, seems like less of an eyesore than the numerous cars we (including me) leave parked on the side of the street. Maybe it's just a question of what we are used to.
I say this as someone that now lives somewhere where everyone parks on the street in front of their house. For me, I loved the month or so we didn't have a car, because it was actually somewhat likely that there would be no car in front of our house.
None of this is to defend the bikes that are being left everywhere. Just trying to strengthen the thought that the cars are just as obnoxious, but we have grown to accept that. If anything, I fear we will grow to accept these bikes. I'm still hopeful that the bikes will actually get used and not just strewn about.
This seems a perfect example of concentrated benefits (riders being able to park wherever) vs. diffuse costs (eyesore to most of the population).
An extremely ironic possible outcome is that given the example of uber, cities may legislate away dockless bikes as non-riders lobby their representatives to minimize eyesores.
Edit: solar panel judging off pictures of the Jump bikes?
edit: as pointed out, this type of charging only extends the battery a little bit. It turns out that JUMP (the company behind these bikes) actually sends out crews to pick up bikes with low battery and takes them back to their office to recharge .
Keeping the conservation of energy in mind, any other method of charging isn’t feasible.
Yesterday I picked one up that was in the shade all day and lost power 10 blocks from my house. It was a huge difference. Those bikes are heavy so they're harder to pedal without power.
It’s usually just not worth it unless you live in a mountainous region. Bionix from Switzerland offers recuperation but it’s the only one I know.
The Uber Bike tho is an electric bike; very much more expensive than a regular bike (and much easier to ride).
Every morning, I take my daughter to creche, walking with her pram. Then, I get on a Dublin bike and dock it at the office. Then, after work, I get on a Dublin bike and dock it by my apartment (wife picks up daughter on way home from work)
Even though I have a Brompton, being able to walk, then ride, then ride, is a huge part of the appeal of bike share. Sometimes I'll take transport to a place and cycle back. Sometimes I have a multipoint journey. It all varies.
- One way trips. When you take your own bike, you have no flexibility for return trips.
- Low overhead. My own bike seems to always have a flat tire or a skipping chain. I can never seem to remember where my lock key is. Etc...
Speaking about bike shares more generally, owning a bike does involve a lot of maintenance. You forgo that by renting (and I'm sure it's priced to be competitive to the amortized cost of owning a bike and keeping it in tune). I love that sort of thing, but I'm not everyone. If this is the thing that gets people on bikes and off cars, I'm all for it.
The best bike shares build and operate their own racks with permission from the city. Others allow leaving the bike in any location. It figures Uber would attempt to get the benefits of a rack without paying for it.
However, most cars sit idle much of the time occupying much more limited car parking space on the sides of roads and rarely does anyone complain. In fact, they insist it is a right to use up the public space to park their private car.
Suppose there's a small town with one bike lot at the library. Everyone keeps their bike at home except to go to the library. Does the use of those bike spots affect the public? Yes.
Would it be okay if Enterprise Car Rental used public spaces to hold their inventory? No. That's not how rental companies work.
Perhaps there is no law, but I expect that to last about ten seconds after Uber pulls this stunt.
That’s exactly how car sharing works in my city. Originally they had designated spaces, but after a year or so they switched to allowing you to park in any public parking space (and some private) within the city center.
Personally, one of the reasons I don't bother to use my bike very much is that the bike racks near my undergraduate institution's lecture buildings - but not their counterparts anywhere else in this city - are almost constantly packed to the brim.
(And then there's the hills...)
It's the same as if someone shoes up to a public beach and starts laying towels and beach chairs everywhere, and then charges people to use the beach chairs. Or if someone started using water fountains to fill up water bottles to sell at the park.
There's a pretty common notion that if you're using a public good to make money, there's some expectation of money changing hands. An expectation beyond those when things are just for personal use.
As someone who doesn't have a private bicycle, I feel maybe you should justify to me why you get to monopolize the racks?
Except that they are about 100x more expensive.
I live in the Netherlands, where everyone owns their own bikes. The biggest bikeshare program is run by the national railways, with bikes available at any station for €3.85/24 hours. They're non-electric, so probably cost about $200 per bike in bulk. I wish there were smaller rental periods available though.
 googled bike costs out of curiosity, and apparently ofo builds their own non-electric bikes in China, which cost only $36 each (!).
Mobike offers seasonly pass of 5 yuan per 3 months in Beijing.
Both of them are heavily subsided by investment. Sooner or later, people will get used to low price or no price, and I don't think they will finally generate profits after the fierce competition between them ends.
On that note, if this can succeed in SF it can succeed anywhere else. I once left my bike in Tenderloin overnight (Of course I had the common sense to use the U-lock) and the next morning I went back and found only the remains.
When deploying things at scale a lot of possibilities open up.
hopefully you meant bike parts?
Limit of 14.5 MPH feels a little slow to me.
I'd imagine they will need to classify them as "motor vehicles" which will require users to provide proof of a driver's license with motorcycle endorsement to use them.
Not really ideal for most casual users.
It appears by staying under 20 MPH they can avoid this.
It's there to help with hills and similarly harder parts of a ride, but they won't enable you to ride faster than an experienced rider on a light road bike.
"Sorry, we couldn’t find that page
We’ve moved a lot of stuff over the years, and it must’ve gotten lost in the mix. Please try retyping the address or just head back to our home page."
This is the best link I could find with a quick search: https://jumpbikes.com/uber-bike
Bikes (or E-Bikes in this Uber/JUMP case) are zero-mission transportation tools perfect for last mile extension from point A to point B in metropolitans where mass transit system won't reach and/or can't reach. Same apply to car sharing programs as there are some small alleys or hilly/twisty roads or pedestrian walkways (maybe this is a stretch) etc.
If you have travel to big cities in South East Asia or Mediterranean you would think it makes sense. They use a lot of mopeds but bikes/ebikes are better because they burn fat rather than fossil fuel:)
Actually, the jump ones look very similar. Maybe they are manufactured by the same company?
I've been using the JUMP iOS app. It's well-made and is available right now:
In any case as someone mentions here, it can canibalize its own business we hotel residents tend to use Uber-like services a lot.
I wonder what other interesting regional options Uber has.