bike share is coming
Thoughtful article in the WaPo:
Exactly. The true cost of private automobile transportation is (purposefully) obscured, while bike share, transit, etc. have nice budgets that make easy targets for criticism. It’s bullshit.
$10M probably won’t even pay for a mile of another shitty unnecessary highway in the middle of nowhere.
I have been using bikeshare in DC this week, and it really does seem to be designed to get people to think “gee, riding a bike is fun, but it would be much less expensive and a pain in the ass if i just bought my own…”
It can get people to think that way, sure. (That’s the hidden agenda of the All-Powerful Bike Lobby!)
But it can be a solid addition to public transportation, even if you already bike regularly. There are some situations in which using a bikeshare bike would be easier/more convenient than using your own — the last blocks of your trip after taking a bus, getting to a sporting event or to a music venue without worrying about locking up, when the roads are all salty (if you don’t have a beater).
I can’t wait to bring bikeless friends and family on Jail Trail/Southside/NShore tours of the city.
I recently used the bike share in New York (well, Manhattan). It provides a lot of benefits (since you can find racks every few blocks).
1) It’s less hassle than the subway if you’re going only 1-2 stops.
2) It’s the easiest way to go cross-town.
3) Traffic jams are not a show-stopper: you just weave through the cars (well, in a safe and courteous manner).
To reiterate a previous comment: share bikes are not about biking around. You buy your own bike for that. They are a complement to other forms of public transportation and fill a specific need.
I don’t know how the Pittsburgh system will be set up, but the NYC is very clearly set up for short trips, up to 30 mins; anything over that and you start paying (I think) $4 per 30 mins. If you want to ride around, rent a bike from a shop.
Last month I used a bike share in Ft Lauderdale Fla. Extended family had an overnight before heading home after a cruise. 12 of us piled in a cab to get to an area with some nice restaurants. After dinner I spied a share rack right outside the place, so spur of the moment I got bikes for my son and I and we took a lovely nighttime toodle back to the hotel, left the rest of them to the ratty cabs. It was the greatest freaking setup ever. Ft Lauderdale, lovely town.
Now they’re saying Pittsburgh Bike Share will start in Spring 2015.
The initial plan required that the bid process for purchasing the bicycles be run through PennDOT, and specified “third generation” bike share technology, with the user interface on the bicycle parking stations.
“The fourth generation technology that’s coming out moves that intelligence onto the bike,” Yavorosky said. “There are a lot of advantages to that, but the biggest … is that it’s much cheaper.”
Because the winning bid for manufacture of the bicycles and docks employed the newer, fourth generation technology, Pittsburgh Bike Share could not accept the bid until the plan was revamped through PennDOT, which added a couple of months onto the process.
Yes, Spring was mentioned by scott bricker and peduto at the press conference on the new bikeways.
I do think it will be good to have our new bikeways installed downtown prior to the start of the bike share. As well as having the strip district trail reopened. I also hope we get the east end bikelanes repainted on liberty and friendship as well.
I can see a nice loop for visitors wanting to head to the strip district from downtown by taking the penn ave bikeway, heding through the convention center to the strip district trail to the strip at 21st st, depositing the bike, grabbing a bite to eat or doing some shopping, and returning on penn bike lanes, crossing 11th and hopping back on the bikeway.
More on bike share: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6425068-74/bike-share-pittsburgh
I got a chance to use San Fransisco’s BABS last week. So easy. So awesome. We really should have used it to see downtown instead of the quarter-hogging meters for the rental car.
San Francisco (like DC, NYC, Philly) are not good places for cars. Public transit + cabs + your legs give you everything you need and are more convenient. And there’s bike-share for the rest. You get actively punished for driving (well, for parking to be precise), as well you should be.
If you need a car, rent it for just that day. Other than for goods deliveries and emergency services, why would anyone agree to cars in central urban areas?
[disclaimer: not a rant aimed at RR, just a general observation.]
I was just in DC and used the bike share there a few times to get to and from the Metro station in Alexandria. It’s really easy to use, and the smartphone app that shows all the docking stations and the number of available bikes/docks is awesome.
Saw Mpls version of bike share today, a really sweet station, on the platform, next to a light rail station near the airport.
Cities can aspire to great things.
So… with bike shares, and particularly the Pittsburgh one… what do people do about helmets? I’m not sure I’m too excited about a bunch of inexperienced cyclists on the road with potentially-not-great bikes, while helmetless. I know I don’t get on my own bike without a helmet.
I guess dedicated bike lanes would obviate some of this concern!
@DS you’ve touched the edge of a very big controversy in biking, maybe the biggest, but the bottom line is that requiring helmets for bike share leads to very little use, while not requiring them leads to enough use that there’s a protective effect as motorists learn to expect to see bikes on the roads. When bike share has been introduced without requiring helmets there has been a reduction of injury, including head injury.
It should be noted that there were lots of headlines recently about head injury rising when bike share was introduced without requiring helmets. But if you actually looked at the statistics reported, they showed a dramatic reduction in overall injuries, and a smaller reduction in head injury. There was no rise in head injury, just a smaller reduction than overall injury (so the proportion of injuries that were head injuries rose).
When I used bike share in DC it felt a little weird to ride without a helmet, but the thing about bike share bikes is that they really do not go very fast, and they are quite conspicuous so people tend to give you a wide birth. If I had a membership and used it daily, I would probably bring my own helmet, but I’m not too worried about the issue generally. As experience has shown in bike share cities, the fears of novice riders getting killed have been unfounded.
Also, the bikes that I rode were very high quality. Pretty much bombproof, and rode nicely (if slowly). Only complaint is that I would have liked a mirror.
Jon: that cyclelicio.us article is quite interesting. More:
“In North America, Seattle and Vancouver are at the epicenter of this helmet battle. Both cities have been trying to start bike share programs, but they haven’t been able to yet. And some cycling advocates and helmet critics say that their mandatory helmet laws exacerbate a widespread perception that bicycling is unsafe.
But North America isn’t the only continent with a helmet issue. Melbourne, Australia is often seen as an example of a city with an existing bike share system that has all the right stuff–a nice climate, flat topography, urban density–except for Australia’s mandatory helmet law.”
Seattle’s bike share program is set to launch in Sept. 2014. Vancouver’s system, delayed by several years, is expected to launch in 2015. They’ll use helmet vending machines.
I think the real solution is for those cities to repeal their mandatory-helmet laws.
One of the DC cyclists who’s active on Twitter referred to “helmet homeopathy” while discussing this topic the other day. Great phrase.
What jonawebb said.
It baffles me how Australia got a helmet law. I thought it was a lawless land of manly men and women.
Also, Doublestraps, don’t worry so much.
My multi-modal transportation patterns sometimes has me using both a bicycle and motorcycle on the same day. Carrying one helmet while wearing the other, while on my travels, just isn’t going to happen, so I end up using the (much larger and heavier) motorcycle helmet for the bicycle travel. Would it protect my noggin better in the chance of a car-vs-bicycle mishap? Possibly. But I’m more likely to be busted up bodily just as much regardless of the type of helmet I have on.
Having said that, I never go anywhere without at least the bicycle helmet. But also having said that, I think a lot of having a helmet on at all is as much safety theater as it is actual safety.
The bigger problem is making the roads safer to ride on, and that has little to do with helmets. Solve the real problem. Don’t get hung up in controversies.
Having said that, I suspect that the controversy itself is a made-up weapon to help defeat implementing bike sharing, at least to defeat its effectiveness.
Just get on the bikes and ride!
I suspect that the controversy itself is a made-up weapon to help defeat implementing bike sharing, at least to defeat its effectiveness.
Just get on the bikes and ride!
yep. this is just concern trolling.
“You can’t build that road! Cars might crash there!”
Tell me how well that argument would go over.
Thanks for the responses, folks! I should make clear that I was not “concern trolling” (which would be a reasonable assumption since this was my first post), just new to the forums and new-ish to Pittsburgh! I am an overly cautious cyclist, so that’s where my concern about helmets comes from.
I’ll add that I lived in Copenhagen for a few months in college, and if I recall correctly, almost everybody there biked without a helmet. They seem to be doing just fine.
“Why do bike share schemes reduce injuries for all cyclists?”
New research suggests bike share schemes lead to a dramatic and rapid fall in injuries for all cyclists, not just bike share riders. Is it due to the “safety in numbers” effect or something else?
Albany, NY and nearby cities had a one week free bikeshare experiment. “Each excursion was recorded on a solar-powered GPS unit so that a regional planning group … could learn who rode where and when”
NYC is doubling the number of bikes from the existing 6,000 to 12,000 by 2017.
Expanding their range from southern Manhattan and portions of Brooklyn to most of Manhattan, more of Brooklyn, and portions of Queens.
Fixing broken docks, cracked seats, etc.
Also raising the price by 50%, BTW. Which makes sense. The system was oversubscribed, and didn’t have enough money to pay for itself.
“We consider our Bikeshare system part of our transit system, so it has to be accessible to everyone, and everyone has to be able to use it on their terms, just like public transit,” said Chris Hamilton, the chief of commuter services in Arlington County, Va.
—from The Atlantic, Is Bike Sharing Just for Gentrifiers?
NYC’s CitiBike, by contrast, is not considered part of the city’s transit system and does not receive public transit funding. (In fact, if I recall correctly, it receives no public funding at all.) Few other transit systems in the US are expected to be entirely self-funding.
That’s true, but even with the price increase, it’s still the cheapest way to get around NYC, other than walking. And it’s often the fastest.
Well, they’re hiring: http://bikepgh.org/2014/12/04/pittsburgh-bike-share-is-hiring/
Just want to add that the NYC CitiBike experience was one of the worst cycling experiences of my life. The cost seemed very reasonable for a 24-hr rental, but as was pointed out, you have to return the bike to a docking station in under 30 minutes or get charged an outrageous overage fee. My gf and I rode from the East Village to Brooklyn and we seriously had to re-dock the bikes at least 6 times. One of the stations had a busted screen, so we than had to find another station all while under duress of trying to stay under 30 minutes. When we finally got to our destination we couldn’t find a docking station in enough time (2 minutes late) and got hit with the overage fee. I could understand maybe docking every hour, but having to do so every half hour makes you go out of your way to find a station and causes a significant amount of downtime to get the bike back. Took the subway back to the East Village and will never use CitiBike again.
from what i understand, they will not be using that model here.
CitiBike is not a bike rental scheme: it’s an alternate form of public transportation. It’s specifically for getting you from A to B.
If you’re looking for a day of cruising around you have to go to a bike rental place, and actually rent a bike. Or, do your riding in 30 min increments, maybe interspersed with train rides.
I don’t have problem with NYC CitiBike schema. They stated it clearly tn their FAQ:
Are the first 45 minutes always free for Annual Members?
As an Annual Member, the first 45 minutes of every trip are free. Trips that last longer than 45 minutes will incur overtime fees. A trip ends when a bike is securely returned back to a Citi Bike station. You may take as many trips as you want during your membership period.
If you would like to take a bike for an extended period of time, we recommend that you rent a bike from a local bike rental location. Please visit our Resources page for a list of bike shops and rental locations by borough.
And they stated it clearly on their
24-Hour and 7-Day Access Pass Overtime Fees
up to 30:00 min $0.00
30 – 60 min $4.00
60 – 90 min $13.00
Every additional 30 minutes +$12.00
So I am kind of puzzled with your experience.
criticism of NYC bikeshare from a bike shop owner:
Bicycle shop owner says CitiBike mowed him down
George Bliss is angry about CitiBike, saying it has put him out of business. For nine years George Bliss’s the HUB (Hudson Urban Bike) shop has sold and repaired bicycles for adults and children in the far West Village, … But by mid-December, the HUB will be gone. CitiBike is the simple reason, according to Bliss. …
I never claimed that I was tricked by CitiBike or that I wasn’t fully aware of their policies and procedures. What I claimed was that, in actual practice, the <30 minutes from docking station to docking station is frustrating, inconvenient, and causes one to constantly go out of their way to find a docking station. Have you or anyone else actually used this and had a positive experience?
Can we quit pretending that my gf and I were trying to do the tour de NYC? I stated earlier that we were simply trying to get from the East Village to the Brooklyn Flea market via the Brooklyn Bridge (a 42 minute bike ride for a *direct* route per google maps) on a Saturday afternoon. It would have been nice to stop in the middle of the bridge to take some pics or admire the engineering work that went into the bridge, but again, we were constantly against the clock to make sure that we weren’t going into overtime.
With full knowledge of their policies, I still question the logic and ethics of their pricing. If this system is simply meant as an alternative to public/private transportation, why is there only an option for a 24-hour or annual rental fee? With tax, the 24-hour the cost of each 30 minute block is $0.23. The cost to exceed the 30 minute block is $4.00 for the first 30 minutes. That’s a 1,745% increase in pricing for a period of time that you already paid for. And again, having to constantly re-dock the bike every 30 minutes accomplishes what exactly?
Trying to answer @unrealmachine’s question, “having to constantly re-dock the bike every 30 minutes accomplishes what exactly?” I imagine that CitiBike wanted to motivate riders to return the bikes to docks, to keep the bikes in circulation. If lots of riders were using the bikes to go to two hour lunches, say, but not docking the bikes while they were at lunch, that would reduce the number of bikes in circulation mid-day.
For whoever is going to be managing the system, I must say that having enough empty docks is AS important as providing enough bikes. In fact, there should probably be more docks than bikes. At the end of my very positive experience with the system in Ft. Lauderdale, though, when my son and I got to our destination, there was only one dock available. Fortunately he was old enough that he could wait alone at our destination while I rode a half mile away to another station to dock mine. That could have been a major problem. Any given station should never be completely full, or the station should signal the system to remove some.
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