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Ofo Beats a Retreat From the Dockless Bikesharing Battle (citylab.com)
21 points by danso 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

It's similar here in Sydney, where Mobike is the last company standing on the wreckage of ofo, Obike and ReddiGo. The local lunacy is not $50 fees per bike, but a requirement for cyclists to wear helmets or get slapped with $300+ fines, which is just not compatible with dockless share bikes.

Some personal bloggage on the topic:



Bicycle helmet laws are designed to discourage cycling.


While it certainly appears to have discouraged cycling, based on reading that page, I don't see how to see it as intentional. Am I missing something?

Surely there are other variables - increased renting prices caused workers to move further away from work; cycling would no longer be viable?

I have an honest question, I hope it doesn't offend. Why use one of these? Is it because you don't want to take a bike on a train to Town Hall? How would it compare to getting a foldable bike/skateboard/scooter?

In my travels I can't see how to justify using them seeing as I got my bike for maybe $350 including locks, lights and helmet.

They’re a godsend for visitors. I recently attended the OpenStreetMap conference in Milan and used Mobikes to get around - so much easier than fussing with bus and metro, let alone packing my own folding bike into a suitcase.

My commute choices are personal bike directly to work (long and hilly), or bus and a long walk. Taking a Mobike from the bus stop shaves 10 min off the walk each way.

In some countries your bike as a high chance of getting stolen or vandalized.

In Phoenix, ofo was basically a madsive donation of bikes to the homeless population. There even seemed to be a cottage industry pop up of people who could break the locks off.

I’m pretty sure this has been the case in many places. I can’t help but feel that this is a positive externality.

I sure hope someone doing research with homeless populations has begun to look into questions of whether or not the flood of bikes into markets has improved conditions for homeless folks. Social services can be hard to get to, and I could imagine these bikes serving a valuable purpose.

I also wonder if the flood of trivially thefted bikeshare bikes has reduced theft of other privately owned bikes. Presumably at least some bike theft is to satisfy a transportation need. If there are limitless Ofo bikes that nobody gets too fussed about when they go missing, perhaps someone is less likely to go prowling a garage?

Every tent camp in Seattle has at least a few of these bikes sitting around so I guess it's helping them get around the city if that's what you are wondering.

Yeah, I’ve seen that too. I’m more curious if anyone has done or is doing more principled research into the effect more bikes has had.

Even in China Ofo is failing. In Shanghai there are unused ofo bikes everywhere. The problem is that they took the approach of spamming the market with large numbers of super cheap bikes, so their bikes are really shoddy. I use Mobike and Hellobike constantly, but with ofo every time I try to use their bikes here I find they're broken in some new and exciting way. I don't know anyone who uses ofo except as a desperate last resort if all the mobikes and Hellobikes are gone. The rumor I keep hearing in Shanghai is that ofo is going to go out of business.

Can corroborate, also in Shanghai: I had much preferred Ofo to the Mobikes because they were a 'normal bike' without a belt chain. But then... time passed and rain poured, rusting up the chains and riders bending the wheels in innovative ways. Sometimes I'll luck out on a fresh Ofo bike, and then it's fine, but for every one of those there are 8 bikes I have to ditch because the chain won't go back on or the wheel isn't even planar.

Mobike is a lot more user-friendly because the bike unlocks itself when you scan the code or trigger the bluetooth signal, whereas the Ofo app sends you a numeric code which you must punch yourself to unlock the bike. Ofo is like the half-generation of bikeshare between 1st-gen docked bikes and 2nd-gen dockless auto-unlocking ones.

To be fair, most Ofo bikes in Shanghai have the same auto-unlock feature in later Marks... maybe about 75% of the ones I've tried.

I'm in Wuhan. I don't use Ofo but I keep an eye out and have only noticed a single Ofo bike in a hundred over the last few months with an auto-unlock.

Obviously, the bikeshare companies roll out their newest stock in Beijing and Shanghai. I'd guess most Ofo bikes in all of China still use the manual unlock, and will do so for a while yet.

In Dallas people unhappy with the eyesore of littered dockless bikes have started vandalizing them en masse like they did in Paris. These ofo bikes were by far the easiest to steal (the locking mechanism could be removed with a screw driver). I am personally a fan of the dockless bikes if they have the side effect of making our city more bikeable.

In Kazakhstan, somebody managed to steal all of their bikes, to the last one. That probably took them months.

Would the bike companies be nervous about the scooter companies? I can appreciate that bikes have a health component, but the scooters take up less room parked on streets, easier to carry down a flight of stairs, less likely to arrive sweating, etc.

The only people I see using these in the UK are drug dealers, who have smacked off the lock with a brick.

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