Bike lanes are a disaster, probably one of the biggest mistakes in road design and planning.
The basic idea was sound, but it was done the wrong way. Everywhere you see a bike lane, that should've been the concrete sidewalk extended into that area with a painted stripe separating pedestrians and bicycles. Go to a beach and you can see the correct implementation. Our sidewalks are simply not wide enough.
What we have now is a cheap and bad solution. Nobody on bikes, scooter, etc. wants to be just a thin painted stripe away from cars that can kill them. But they are forbidden from sidewalks because they are too narrow.
The right way to add bike lanes would've been to extend the sidewalks into the road (where the current bike lanes are) by pouring concrete there. Full protection from cars, wide enough for pedestrians and bicycles, scooters, etc.
It's not too late to fix this, the bike lanes are there. Cities just need to spend the money to expand the sidewalks there. If they do this, there's potential for a true revolution in non-car mobility in the US.
Bike lanes in sidewalks work in beaches because bikers tend to drive at a comfortable cruising speed. Daily commuters usually bike in the ~15-25mph range in a city (and a lot faster in suburbs and country roads); that speed is dangerous for pedestrians. You are also disregarding turns and intersections, where it's much more convenient to stop as little as possible.
The solution to bike lanes is physically separated lanes that don't give lazy car drivers free parking space and don't penalize cyclists for traffic, but still allows them to move to the roads when there aren't many cars as in .
I think technically in many jurisdictions, bikes are to be treated as vehicles. Whether or not they're always treated that way is up for debate (and vice versa), but it may explain also partially why things were done that way.
This doesn't include putting the bikes on the same grade as the sidewalk, but that's a relatively minor difference once you already have parked cars separating you from car traffic.
I know some people get annoyed that it's slightly slower, but you avoid some seriously dangerous situations.
And there are a number of ongoing projects. See: https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs...
I do agree, but the bike lanes in a city CBD need to serve a different purpose from those at the beach.
The city bike lanes have a lot of commercial traffic (bike couriers) and people commuting, mostly adults, so they are travelling faster and "with intent".
The bike lanes at the beach are for leisure and are much, much slower, without the urgency. A lot more kids on bikes too.
- Cars will make turns that cross your protected bike path and with parking in the way, a bike's already minimal visible cross section is reduced even more.
- Bikes need to make left turns which is difficult when there are parked cars in the way.
- Pedestrians will happily walk everywhere in your bike lane (oblivious to your bell ringing due to headphones), regardless of whatever paint you delineate the two areas.
In areas with these kinds of bike lanes, I generally ride in the street with the cars. It's safer and faster.
Proper turning/bike lane design and prioritized space for cyclists takes good care of this. In lighted intersections, stagger the lights so bikes have priority.
>" Bikes need to make left turns which is difficult when there are parked cars in the way."
Make bikes do hook turns (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_turn) instead of using the cars' left turn lanes. It's significantly safer and doesn't require bikes to cross traffic lanes.
>"Pedestrians will happily walk everywhere in your bike lane (oblivious to your bell ringing due to headphones), regardless of whatever paint you delineate the two areas."
Delineate with a curb instead of just a line, to make the separation clear.
At the one intersection I'm most familiar with, a separate bike light almost always results in the driver becoming confused and causing a near crash. I've learned to wait a few seconds to avoid being hit.
> Make bikes do hook turns (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_turn) instead of using the cars' left turn lanes. It's significantly safer and doesn't require bikes to cross traffic lanes.
That takes signficantly longer, as you're guaranteed to sit through at least one signal phase. Again at my favoritist intersection ever, hook turns are what are marked but only newbie bikers use this technique. Everyone else just takes their chances doing something radical so they're no better off.
When I was there, I kept walking in the bike lane by accident and ended up upsetting some cyclists.
the cheaper, easier, and move obvious solution is to simply pour a curb separating the bike lane and the car lanes. you don't have to raise the whole bike lane up to sidwalk level, just 6" at the edge. and that's what many cities are doing.
When I was handed the license, my instructor told me "congratulations, you are now invisible".
You have to ride as if everyone is simultaneously oblivious to your presence and out to run you over all the time.
Not a joke question. I'd have loved any fraction of $880 a month when I was in college and was otherwise worth nothing and couldn't get a traditional shitty part time job because I had unpredictable hours due to school.
This is why companies don't rely only on their own data, they do credit checks, and buy data from third parties.
There's at least one company around here working on self-delivering bicycles. The idea is that you call one up on your phone and wait by the curb, and the bike will come cruising up to you. When you're done, you just hop off, and the bike cruises to its next renter (or charger) rather than lying around littering the place up.
No it's not. Less stable platform. Exact same issues with obstacle detection and avoiance, path planning and scene understanding with less available power for sensors and compute. Higher relative sensor cost. Fewer closed environments like highways. Added issue of being able to steal them more easily.
Stealing a GPS-tagged autonomous bike or scooter is also not going to go especially well for whoever tries it.
However, it should prevent you from changing your weight threshold more than once every 2 days. Otherwise, you'd be able to binary-search to find random people's weights.
Funny name, given how the scooters are regarded. Edit: Just saw this comment after I posted: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17491873
Mass transit would benefit better from a scooter partnership.
- they were spaced too far apart
- they weren't in residential areas
The dockless bikes, and scooters, were a response to that. We could go back to using docks if we solved those two problems.
Or what if there was a hybrid approach, incentivising users who brought their bike / scooter to a dock by making the ride cheaper or free?
You can park them on the street in a regular parking spot (in most neighborhoods), or park them in a garage charging spot and get $1 off your ride. If you return a sidewalk-parked Scoot that is almost out of power, then your ride is free. It works pretty well and the pricing seems pretty fair.
I wonder why. Perhaps Scoot just looks like a much bigger hurdle? If I'm going to rent this big thing, put on a helmet and everything, then I might as well just call a Uber and call it a day? I don't know.
Equivalent for electric motors would be Wattage.
Most people, generally speaking, are good people. They put bikes where they're supposed to be, they put scooters where they're supposed to be etc. It isn't just enlightened tech commenters who know that a bike should go in a bike rack.
The last time I was over there, it seemed like someone was going around and purposefully knocking them over: https://scontent-dfw5-1.cdninstagram.com/vp/1cd4296b10424b53...
These scooters need docking stations and the users parking them illegally need to be handed hefty fines, just as a motorist would be fined for parking their car illegally.
People just couldn't help throwing the bikes on train tracks, or in the river, or in trees, or basically anywhere that wasn't a bike rack. I don't think I ever saw an oBike in a bike rack.
They pulled out because too many people were dumping bikes in rivers and train tracks, and they weren't making enough money. They were reasonably popular.
Melbourne is a car addicted city though, and it is difficult to get anyone here to see an alternative.
I wouldn't say oBikes were reasonably popular. The only people I ever saw riding them were tourists in St Kilda, and homeless people who had broken the locks off them.
I honestly think we are just used to seeing idle cars all over the place that we don't "notice" them. There's no reason scooters won't be able to "blend in" in the same way over time.
Gotta solve the point-to-point problems of mass transit if you want to kill demand for cars.
I think docking stations are the better solution. Portland has docked shared bikes and they work well. It prevents the littering problem almost entirely, and it could provide a way to keep these scooters charged.
> I think docking stations are the better solution. Portland has docked shared bikes and they work well. It prevents the littering problem almost entirely, and it could provide a way to keep these scooters charged.
I strongly disagree. Docked bikes have been around for a while in most cities, and scooters have been a lot more popular because they are everywhere. If I use a docked bike to go 2 miles I'll spend half my time on either end walking to and from a dock.
The only way to make the docked model work is to have many small docks - several on every block, which isn't going to happen. My suggestion is essentially this (multiple docks on every block) without the need for infrastructure. Cars (which are way less space efficient) have more parking options that docked bikes, which makes 0 sense.
That's probably the root of the disagreement: ubiquitous docks seem perfectly possible to me. I wouldn't advocate for several on every block but I think there's a feasible level where they remain pretty common. Here in Portland the bike stations are close enough that you don't often have to walk more than 2-3 blocks . It would be even easier to create scooter stations, since they're less than half the size of a bike -- small enough to put a 10-12 scooter station on a sidewalk corner without much fuss. That compares pretty favorably with bike stations, which usually need to take up street space (which I'm fine with, but it can create political/logistical barriers).
You make a fair point about the scooters' pervasiveness being important for their popularity. Looking again at the system I know best, Portland has a hybrid system: in the highest traffic areas you can leave a bike pretty much anywhere at no cost, and you can leave one anywhere at all for a $2 fee. To prevent bikes from being strewn about and/or poorly distributed they offer a program where you earn account credit if you return a bike to a station .
I think that kind of thing would work pretty well with scooters, since they need to be charged every so often. Bird already has their Charger program  that pays you to pick up and charge their scooters. Users could instead earn account credit for returning scooters to stations, especially if they need charging and/or that station is low on scooters. That would allow people to leave them around but would keep them charged and "crowdsource" the effort to cut down on scooter clutter.
If Bird had to pay a fee to get scooters out of impound, I’m sure it would find a customer-friendly way to encourage its users to keep the scooters out of impound to begin with.
It seems like this problem is already solved with cars. If you leave a car in the middle of the street, it will get towed. Then the registered owner has to pay a fee to recover it. No worrying about whether to give a ticket to the last driver, or the owner, etc.
Given that photos of the scooter are required by the apps anyhow, enforcement via a small fine should be trivial.
I kindly ask you to grab one of those bikes and do a few miles on the Burke. It's beautiful out, really hope you enjoy it.
I commute regularly on the Burke, it's wonderful. Cars are so much more of an issue on my commute. More bikes please!
Especially around UW, there are ALWAYS rental bikes in the way. Not always dangerously so, but adding to congestion.
I am trying hard not to be too old-man-crotchety about this, but the part where the business model of these companies depends on storing assets on the public right of way ... grinds my gears.
I'm curious if anyone has an answer to this.
Been interesting because in New York Bird isn't something people talk about where as here it was everywhere (didn't hurt we lived at Venice beach either).
One thing I realized is how much the ability to just leave your bird/lime anywhere and just pick it up where it is, affects your desire to use it.
We will see the same uptick in bicycles in NY I think once you are not required to park them at specific places.
It's a little bit of a mess though especially down on the beach promenae but I think there are plenty of ways to encourage good behavior.
It's also been fun to watch both companies experiment and revise their hardware. The original Lime scooters were slow and the Bird scooters were much stronger. With the v2 of each, it is reversed.
But from what I've heard second hand, increasing the number of units on the street isn't that expensive. I've heard that the units cost them in bulk ~$250 each and they quickly (< 3 months) earn that back. So the investment to blanket a city with scooters is way less than you'd expect and not the main barrier to entry. Of course that's second hand, so I could be totally wrong.
I could theoretically rent a bicycle, but there are only four places I could park it.
HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17284094
I now look for a "Tragedy of the Common" errors in business models. That's it right there: they freely exploit a public resource without care or consequence. The fallacy is evident when we ask "What if everybody does this?"
Scenario: go to park your personal bike at the public bike rack only you discover it's full of bikes from some company who wants to make a buck out of it.
A lot of these business models take advantage of resources that are "free" but have really cost a lot of money to set up and maintain, usually by the public.
I'm in Sydney and am now starting to see share bikes littering the landscape. One had been dumped in a public ocean bath (at Balmoral).
In a city CBD, what would one car space be worth? In Sydney some car parks charge $23 an hour. Should this space just be given to some bike share company that decides to set up shop?
NOT a business unto itself.
Fuck The Scooters!
For example, only 4% of Austin commuters live within 2 miles of their workplace . Commuters in Westlake and P-Ville, etc. are definitely NOT trading in their cars to get on a scooter (if you could even find one) and then riding it down the highway for 30 minutes. Especially in 100 degree heat.
Austin still has a long, long way to go.
Fresh produce, for example. I haven't seen any governments producing the oldest and most critical good.