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Bike Share in your area?
Old 10-22-2013, 05:41 PM   #1
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Bike Share in your area?

I knew it was coming, but forgot about it. Bike Share in the greater Chicago area. (I don't go there anymore). The website overwhelmed me, as I figured there would be a few hundred bikes, available at a dozen or so "stations".
Here's the website... go to the "Station Map" to see just how big this project is.

Divvy Bikes | Your bike sharing system in Chicago

They're called DIvvY bikes. Apparently there were 300 million bike sharing rentals worldwide... 539 programs in 49 countries as of April 2013.

Is anyone familiar with a program in your own town, or a place that you've visited? What do you, or the local users think of the program? Upsides or downsides?
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:52 PM   #2
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We have had it in Denver for about three years. Used to be just in the summer but this year they are going to leave them out year round. You can be a member and pay a monthly fee I believe and that gets you x use. Or you can just swipe a credit card and hop on a bike and go. Never used it but they have expanded significantly the number of bikes and locations so somebody must be using them.

Also Go Car which is a car sharing thing showed up about two months ago. Am seeing a lot of those little smart cars around.
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Here, we call it "petty theft" as no one leaves a "good bike" anyplace. Folks don't run errands or "go" places on bikes. They just ride them. Otherwise, they will be "shared". YMMV
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:11 PM   #4
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We have one coming soon to San Diego, and I'm very excited. (looks like January) We have new bike racks in the North Park area that we saw fill up on Friday night, and bikes were tied to trees and signs all around it.

We already have the car share from Car2Go (might be the same in Denver) that use electric Smart Cars. It's pretty cool, because with the Car2Go, there's no gas to pay for, and they have a deal that parking at meters in the city is free. It's an excellent way for hubby and I to get downtown or to popular areas to eat and drink - 37cents a minute for the ride there, and cab back if we're drunk, or drive back if we're sober, and we don't have to pay $10-20 for parking downtown.

We have a couple of places we love to go to eat that are in the 2-4 mile away range, which is just out of my comfort zone to walk both ways. Biking there when it's still light and walking back in the dark would be a great solution. Or, downtown SD is mostly downhill from us, so we could bike down there too, and cab home.
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:29 PM   #5
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My daughter uses Divvy in Chicago. She loves it. She paid a years membership. She gets to work much faster now.
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:29 PM   #6
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We visited Nashville recently and they have a bike share. We used it and thought it was a great idea.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:03 PM   #7
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I wish I lived in an urban area where bike sharing made sense, and I applaud Chicago (and others) who are trying to implement the program. I have seen Divy bikes around when in Chicago.

I hope organized sharing on all kinds of things expands (cars, bikes, AirBnB so far). Neighborhood tools would be another good program, organized by the neighbors themselves, instead of everyone having duplicates of infrequently used items. Some of these programs may need city involvement, many can be private business or just motivated neighbors and other groups.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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The bike share program started about 2 months ago in San Francisco. Bikes are only meant to be used on short commuter rides (less than 30 minutes). So I don't use them, preferring to walk instead. But lots of people seem to enjoy them.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post

I hope organized sharing on all kinds of things expands (cars, bikes, AirBnB so far). Neighborhood tools would be another good program, organized by the neighbors themselves, instead of everyone having duplicates of infrequently used items. Some of these programs may need city involvement, many can be private business or just motivated neighbors and other groups.
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A great concept. Seems like a natural, that would require very little legal construct. Can imagine borrowing a battery load tester, a spot welder or a an air compressor that I wouldn't want to pay full price for.
Flesh that one out, and I'll join the IPO!
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #10
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I live in West Virginia. You gotta be kidding.

Riding a bicycle on roads around here you'd have a life expectancy of about 20 minutes.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:52 AM   #11
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We have the extensive NiceRide system here in the Twin Cities of St. Paul/Minneapolis and it appears to be enormously popular. At first I thought, "who doesn't own a bike?' but apparently a lot of people don't and/or would rather pay the yearly fee to use this system. Every time I pass one of the of bike stalls they are nearly all checked out.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:11 AM   #12
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We have the extensive NiceRide system here in the Twin Cities of St. Paul/Minneapolis and it appears to be enormously popular. At first I thought, "who doesn't own a bike?' but apparently a lot of people don't and/or would rather pay the yearly fee to use this system. Every time I pass one of the of bike stalls they are nearly all checked out.
Marita beat me to it but here's the link to the Nice Ride system - https://www.niceridemn.org/

They have been running for 3 years I think and expanding each year. It's supported by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of MN. They do pull all the bikes in early November for the winter.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:13 AM   #13
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DW and I are charter members of DC's Capital Bikeshare Program (CABI) which now has over 200 stations and 1800 bikes in the metro area. We live in the Capital Hill section with three stations within 1/4 mile in three different directions. We frequently grab a CABI bike to go downtown to a movie, to doctors visits, or to restaurants. I sometimes grab one to ride to and from the gym which is about a mile away (I know, kinda counterproductive). The bikes are well maintained and easy to ride. We both love the program. The value of an annual membership like ours ($75/year, rides free if kept to 30 minutes) would go up astronomically for daily users like commuters but it is still a great convenience for sporadic users like us. The only difficulty I can see is that some stations can get filled up or depleted for a period of time especially during rush hours. The management company runs several vans to re-balance stations but, if you were riding to work and couldn't find a station to dock your bike, that could prove frustrating. A cell phone app helps by showing nearby station status.

A positive side effect is that the CABI program has resulted in little red bikes zooming all over the area. This has increased bike visibility in drivers' eyes which (IMHO) makes drivers a bit more cautious increasing bike safety. This brings out more regular bikes which further increases awareness and encourages even more bikes in a virtuous cycle. Soon we will drive out the cars.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:48 AM   #14
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My daughter lives in Manhattan and also loves it. One word of caution: bikes are available but there's no helmet provided. When they initiated this in Manhattan, there was a program offering free helmets, which my daughter availed herself of.
One can fall off a bike anywhere, but I think cycling in an urban setting makes helmet use more urgent.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:56 AM   #15
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One can fall off a bike anywhere, but I think cycling in an urban setting makes helmet use more urgent.
I always wear a helmet when riding my own bikes and never wear one while riding a CABI bike. Some jurisdictions have proposed mandatory helmet use but such nanny-state laws would destroy bike share programs since bikeshare use is ad-hoc and few users will carry helmets. The reality is that helmet laws are overkill and the hype about safety is overstated. In almost any European city helmets are as rare as hens teeth and no one is worried about it.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:08 AM   #16
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We were in DC and wanted to get a bike but they were all being used. A few weeks ago in Boston, while we did not try to rent a bike, most stations only had a few bikes. It is a great program. Where we are living now, I am working nearly full time just to get the basic elements of bicycling infrastructure, encouragement and educational programs. It is my new retirement job - no pay, hopefully high satisfaction will be the result.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:44 AM   #17
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The one we have here in the Toronto area is BIXI. Its been pretty popular. As a fairly avid cyclist myself I applaud it but I have to say. They use bikes that are built to last, are easy to use for most people and are built for short distances. In other words, these things are like TANKS. I tried one and it wasn't unpleasant but if you weren't used to cycling, these things wouldn't make you want to take it up as a hobby !
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:42 AM   #18
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Here, we call it "petty theft" as no one leaves a "good bike" anyplace. Folks don't run errands or "go" places on bikes. They just ride them. Otherwise, they will be "shared". YMMV
My DD lived on north shore Oahu for 4 years for university. She had heard of the "problem" of "bike sharing" on the island, so when she bought her bike, she also bought four cans of spray paint, and painted it in rainbow colors. It looked AWFUL. Her thought was that no one would want to "share" such an ugly bike.

Bottom line: it got "bike shared" anyway...she had locked the frame to a wooden part of a deck railing. Whoever took it simply kicked the would piece out and took the bike. She looked for it for a couple of weeks and finally found it in a pile of presumably "shared" bikes in someone's backyard, and she just shared it back to herself. She, and all her friends, knew it was hers because of the awful ugly paint job she had given it.

As to the real Bike Sharing programs, I've used a few in Europe and enjoyed them. Never saw one in the US since we live in a rural area.

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Old 10-23-2013, 11:43 AM   #19
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I believe that the Capital Bikeshare program in the DC area has been the most successful one in the US. It has definitely increased bike usage in DC, both among locals and tourists. They're expanding the network significantly, and there are already more than 200 bike stations in the metro area.

The "Vélib" program in Paris has been enormously successful. Cycling is now a major form of transport in the city. The mayor has taken many steps to discourage driving in the city. Some lanes are now reserved for buses & bikes. On many minor one-way streets, there are now bike lanes going against traffic. Paris is actually a great city for biking.

I've tried the shared bike programs in both DC & Paris and both were positive experiences. I usually ride my own bike, however.
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