Seattle Bike Blog reports that Limebike and Spin, purveyors of the stray orange and green bicycles that have been dotting Seattle sidewalks all summer, are about to have some competition: Beijing-based ofo has received a permit from the Seattle Department of Transportation to launch 1,000 bikes in the city. And that launch is happening Thursday.
ofo is already popular in China. The company claims to have over 20 million registered users, and as of Feburary, it was valued at $1 billion—which they're going to need the first time someone gets creamed by a dump truck on one of these things. Like Limebike and Spin—and despite Seattle's mandatory helmet laws—ofo doesn't provide helmets but does encourage users to bring their own. Because what people who don't have bikes do have is helmets.
Here's my question: Sure, bike-shares are doing well now, in the middle of a record dry summer, but who is going to ride these things when the rain starts and the clouds roll in and it's dark for 20 hours a day? Get me a bike-share with a motor, some body armor, and a roof, then let's talk.