A new phenomenon has overtaken and possibly overwhelmed the city of San Diego. It’s called “Dockless Bike Sharing”. I love it …. in theory.
As of the writing of this blog in May of 2018 the sidewalks of San Diego have been literally inundated with beach cruiser style bicycles. If I were to take a guess I would guess that at least 5000 of these bikes have been placed all over San Diego. In addition there are electric scooters everywhere are well. I would guess that there are easily over 1000 of the electric scooters. Each of these vehicles has a Q-code on it and all you need to do to ride one is to download one of the apps from the various companies, scan the code on the bike and you are off to the races. Most of the vehicles charge $1 per hour but at current some of the bikes are free as long as you scan the code. Once you finish riding you simply close out the lock which is attached to the back wheel of the bike and hit the button on your app to tell the system you are done with your ride.
To me this is so cool …. again … in theory. No longer do you need to find parking immediately in the most crowded area. Park a mile away near a dockless bike and ride the rest of the way, or, better yet you can just ride the whole distance and not use gas in the first place.
It’s hard to explain that they are everywhere. What that means is that the bikes and scooters can be picked up, ridden and dropped off at any point. In the road, in a park, on a corner, not on a corner, in the middle of the street or in a ditch. If you read that list of places you might think about many of them “Hmmm, that doesn’t sound like the best place to park a bicycle.” and you would be right.
And hence the problem. People are leaving the bikes in horrible places. The simple fact that you don’t have to park the bike in a bike rack doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t theoretically make sense to park the bike in a bike rack.
The placement of this bike was really amusing for me. It was everything wrong and everything right in one moment. This bike was in perfectly ridable condition. It hadn’t been damaged at all, and when someone finished riding it they put it on a pedestal. I laughed because for me the idea of bike sharing should be put on a pedestal and yet this bike is clearly in the wrong place.
The bike sharing program in San Diego is something hopefully you can enjoy and hopefully it is here to stay. When you see yellow or green bikes sitting on the sidewalk, YES, you can rent them! Download “ofo” or “limebike” on your Android or your iPhone and you will be up and rolling in minutes. Enjoy them! But park them in a place that makes sense – please!!!! Can’t we all enjoy a good thing?
At the end of the day I think the companies need to reign in some control over this. The sheer number of bikes borders on litter and the way that people misplace them makes it worse, but, take advantage of it during a trip to San Diego while you can and hopefully the companies get their acts sorted out sooner than later!
Until next time – reporting from San Diego.