Can Seattle Bikeshares Survive Winter?

Comments

1
aahahaha, the "sharing economy". Help me maintain my business for free.
2
Yeah, I'll stand up their bikes as long as I can bill them for the labor. This is 'Merica, no such thing as a free lunch.

If I saw a bunch of bikes littering the sidewalk I might call the city to clean it up though.
3
Put a tilt sensor in the bike. Credit people for standing them up, ding people for knocking them over. Surveillance gamification at its best.
4
You also have assholes actively vandalizing the bikes. I have come upon many with broken off tags, busted spokes, bent tire rails, missing seats, etc. Almost any bike you find around Belltown is damaged in some way. Nice things we can't have, and this is why.
5
"Seattle's dark, gray, nine-month long winter" ...yeah sure.
6
No, they cannot, as Seattle is not a bicycle town.
7
One of the lakeside methcamps near Green Lake is having a field day with these things, however.
8
I'm a life-long Seattle bike commuter; I rode 5 miles home through the rain last night and rode back to work this morning through the drizzle.

that said, I'm not very excited about the idea of, for the rest of my life, having to look at green, orange, and yellow eyesores spread throughout the city like litter, 95% unused in the summer, 99.9% unused in the winter. In other words, I'd love more people to bike, but I don't think this is the solution we are looking for.

Looking out my window as I type this, there an orange one is, sitting on the corner across the street. It annoys me; it imposes on my visual field. I see a private business making free use of public space to do business and to advertise, and I have to just accept that. What's next, Coca Cola can sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, that only open when you scan them and bill your card? Go away, orange bike, go away.
9
Hey Katie... no one "speeds down the bike lane" on these things. They're fucking tanks.
10
@8: Looking out your window, how many parked cars can you see? Do they also impose on your visual field?
11
Yes, cars do impose on my visual field, and I would like them to decrease significantly too. This is one reason I ride a bike. But they do, mostly, belong to people; and they are parked in spaces designed for them; and it is likely that they will get used in the next month.

For what it is worth, I enjoy seeing bike racks full of bikes on the sidewalk - in fact, I can see someone's red bike chained to a bike rack out my window too, and it gives me immense pleasure. My complaint is specifically about this particular business model
12
Do a goggle image search for ‘Amsterdam bikes’ or ‘copenhagen Bikes’ and you see thousands of bikes parked silly-billy all over the city, and it hasn’t seemed to decrease tourism or reduced the perceived beauty of the city. Or better yet go and visit And see that plenty of people drive cars and plenty people drive bikes and is relatively little conflict.

@2 I think the article was just asking people to not be a dick, or be a vandal, or be a criminal. A lot of people do things every day, for the good of society, and don’t expect to get paid. Like when the wind blows my neighbors trash can out to the street instead of walking by looking at my iPhone, I actually pick it up and put it back on the street. Maybe I should send them a bill?

@1 if people were renting their own bikes out, like Airbnb, then it would be the sharing economy. Now it’s just a private company doing business.

13
Yeah, also a daily bike commuter and they are just fucking bikes, not eyesores. Could we whine a little more about this non-issue? Seem like a worthwhile reason to get less transport done by bike?
14
@13, I'm not saying it's the biggest problem on earth.
15
The number one problem with bikeshares in Seattle is it's either terrifying or a pain in the ass to get around most of Seattle on a bike. You're in traffic or next to and not guarded from traffic almost everywhere you could want to go away from the Burke-Gilman. Portland's Bikeytown shares from Nike work because it's part of an entire working respectable cyclist system within the city - it is pretty clear how to get around town on a bike. In Seattle, it is not very encouraging as a non-bike-owner to consider hopping on a bike from point A to point B when that trip is going to be largely freaky shit amongst oblivious drivers.
16
(If bike ridership increases significantly because of these companies, I'll accept them as the new normal and won't complain)
17
@12,
People helping other people for free is a good thing. Also not purposefully being a vandal or criminal (e.g., not knocking bikes over) is a good thing.

But when a private company asks me to do something for them for free I refuse. Because America and capitalism. If they want people to pick up their bikes they should hire them.
18
CSB:

I lived at an apartment complex that charged people "pet rent" if they had pets. When asked what "pet rent" was for, the apartment complex said "we hire companies to clean up dog waste." So one guy stopped cleaning up after his dog with the reasoning that he was paying for someone else to do it. Perfectly logical in a capitalist, money-grubbing, self-centered, everyone for themselves country. I couldn't fault him even though it meant there was even more dog shit everywhere.
/CSB

P.S. Of course nowadays pet rent is everywhere and the excuse is either "we need it to cover any damages" (which is bullshit. Have a refundable deposit for that) or the excuse is simply "we do it because we know we can get away with bilking you rubes for some extra cash for our CEO's 8th resort home."
Fuck capitalism and fuck America. But that's a rant for another day.
19
@17 a good example is Safeway and their carts. I used to Live two blocks from Safeway. Rogue carts would always end up on my street from my house. I also shopped tat Safeway so occasionally I would push the cart back to Safeway. I cleaned up my yard, and return the stolen item. I just view that as being a good neighbor .
20
When people think the value of something is nothing to them, they won't care for it. Look at public housing.
21
If we're going to add an 'M' to 'Ofo' to make' Mofo', why are we not adding an 'S' to 'Lime'?
22
@20: OK, I looked at High Point, Othello, Holly, Rainier Vista, Magnusson, etc. You're wrong.
23
@20 how do you Explain horribly maintained private homes, private cars, private property of all types, and general slovenly personal appearances by individuals?
24
@17 - FWIW, the person who suggested we help stand the bikes up runs a bike blog, not any of these companies, so there's no request from a private company here in this article. Just someone who has the bike community's interest at heart.
25
On my walk home tonight I saw a tipped over bike and an illegal camper with garbage and bottles of urine on the sidewalk. Oddly, the bike didn't hold my attention very much.
26
I'm a little surprised that the bike thieves who've been camped at the corner of 14th and 45th NW for the past couple of months don't seem to have harvested any of them. Or maybe they just don't add them to their frame pile because they're so conspicuously painted.
27
"...speeding down a bike lane..."

More like swerving slowly down the bikeway. My main objection to the bikeshares is that their incompetent customers keep scaring me by veering toward me unsteadily when I'm riding past.
28
@25 Yes, funny how that works. Capitalism helping to reduce green house gases upsets a Seattle liberal. Jars of urine and needles around a garbage strewn tent are A-OK!
29
Don't those bikes have stands? Just leave them laying on the ground when you're done, somebody will clean up your mess. Bikeshare sucks, let them walk.
30
@28: since i've been whinging to the Po about junkies shooting up, and their needles and garbage strewn about the Pike St. Express Ramp, you're wrong.

31
@19 The guy is asking citizens to act as his maintenance crew. No.
32
Or you just report the improperly parked bike to the bikeshare company and make them fix the shitty parking job, as SDOT requires. 1-888-LIME345 is the contact info for the green+yellow bikes.

https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/d…

Requirement P7: All permitted operators shall provide on every bicycle contact information for bicycle relocation requests.
Requirement P8: Bicycles shall be upright when parked.
Requirement P9: Any bicycle that is parked incorrectly shall be re-parked in a correct manner or shall be removed by the operator based on these times:
• 6am to 6pm on weekdays, not including holidays - within two hours of receiving notice,
• All other times – within 10 hours of receiving notice
33
You cannot leave home without nearly getting plowed by a helmetless stranger speeding down a bike lane, at least when the sun is out.

Actually, it's pretty easy to do exactly that. The key--and this is important--is to not stand, walk, or sit, or otherwise occupy bike lanes while not riding a bike. Follow this simple advice, and you'll find it remarkably easy to avoid this kind of close call.

(Or, alternatively, be a less lazy writer.)
34
FWIW, Pronto also had a $1 million dollar equipment grant from the FTA that had to be repaid when we shut down the bikeshare and didn't give the equipment to another bikeshare city. If we haven't repaid that yet, the city will have to pay the piper on that, eventually.

The FTA repayment requirement (from when buyout was discussed) was mentioned on slide 10 here and in council deliberations about buyout. http://1p40p3gwj70rhpc423s8rzjaz-wpengin…
35
The Ofo folks have decided the front of our house is a prime spot to leave bikes. They've left them compketely blocking our sidewalk, and have left them ON our plants. They dont respond to emails or calls. We have enough trash littered around thanks to some nearby encampments. These bikes add to the clutter and difficulty navigating a simple sidewalk. There has got to be a better solution to parking these things.
36
Regarding Amsterdam:

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/20…

This is what it looks like when the city government takes a sensible approach to protecting the interests of its citizens and legitimate business owners.

The point is that in Amsterdam, where bike ownership is nearly universal (Amsterdam estimates more bicycles (± 900,000) than residents (± 800,000)), and parking space ever more scarce, these companies are taking unfair unpaid advantage of scarce public space as part of their business model. "Shared" bikes have sprung up all over town often sitting unused, or taking up valuable bike rack space.

Here, bike-sharing schemes are geared mostly towards the tourist industry. Access to a bicycle is not the barrier to regular ridership. Dutch visitors to the city can pick up a cheap bike rental at the train station or park-and-ride, or take public transport. Tourists can also rent from any of the numerous legally operating rental shops that pay to store and display their rolling stock. Just bring your bike back before departing.

In the US, I understand these "bikeshare" schemes are part of a different set of priorities to build ridership and also to somehow make cities seem more attractive, more "green". For the most part, howeer, like Seattle's Broadway streetcar—implemented without a dedicated lane, and so no more reliable an option than a bus or a car—it's city planner porn. Window dressing. More trouble than it's worth for the city to oversee a public shared bike system, so they farm it out to "disruptive" startups who come up with a—wowie! zowie!—location-based smartphone app, and fill the public space with their inventory. Public space is paid for and maintained by the public, but it is here used to serve private ends. Yet the public representatives see some advantage to giving these companies a free ride. I think that begs for an explanation.

37
There’s a lovely dumpster near my home. If I have to pick up these bicycles, I will be depositing them there.

There’s a little GPS thingy on them, right? The company can fetch them at their leisure.
38
So, we're agreed: If a bikeshare bike is in your way, toss it into the nearest body of water?
39
@24,

That's cool, and he/she is free to pick up bikes and ask others to do so as well, but I'm not gonna. I'd rather report them to the city.
40
@38,
I apply that logic to anything that's in my way.
41
@36 Id Guess that most bike and public transit fans would gladly trade all of Seattle’s bike share Options for half of Amsterdam’sPublic transportation in bicycle transportation infrastructure.