Friday, August 13, 2010

Bike Sharing Demo (and the UN?) Coming To Town

Bike Share Philadelphia has announced that it is bringing 3 bike sharing demonstrations this month:

  • Thursday, August 26th in the plaza in front of the Penn Bookstore in University City at 36th & Walnut Streets, 10AM to 6PM
  • Friday August 27th at Love Park - 15th & JFK Blvd, 10 AM to 6 PM
  • Saturday, August 28th at Penn's Landing on the Walnut Plaza, off Columbus Blvd., 10 AM to 6PM

Meanwhile bike sharing is stealing headlines. Colorado Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Maes narrowly won the Republican Primary on Tuesday. A few days before the election Maes warned voters that his Democratic opponent Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his support for the B-Cycle program, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally in Centennial, CO.

On a more positive note - Kudos to commentator Michael Smerconish for asking Mayor Nutter to bring bike sharing to Philadelphia after being inspired by "Boris' Bikes" (Barclay's Cycle Hire) on a recent trip to London.

"And there's the fitness factor. Hizzoner was willing to fight tooth and nail with City Council to levy a tax on sugary drinks - in part out of concern for the city's rising obesity rate. Making it easy for both city residents and visitors to bike around town would seem to fill the same bill."

Unfortunately his idea for Mike's Bikes is already taken by that shop on S. 13th Street. How about Philly Psycles or Brotherly Bikes. What catchy phrase do you propose for Bike Sharing in Philadelphia?

And finally in New York City a new twist on bike sharing that actually makes the bike the station by attaching a lock box to the frame. SoBi or Social Bicycles plans to deploy bikes in New York City this fall. Think Bixi meets the Dutch White Bicycles.

The Social Bicycle System from Ryan Rzepecki on Vimeo.


Michael said...

Has news reached you re the highly charged drama now playing out concerning Australia’s first attempt at Bike share?

Melbourne, has had a bike share scheme going for almost three months now with the very dull name of; Melbourne Bike Share.

London and Melbourne are both using Montreal’s Bixi bikes designed by Michael Dallaire, and manufactured in rural Quebec, a great coup for the province.

MBS, for short, is nothing like London in Size. It’s the same size as Dublinbike, give or take a bike or two, but whereas Dublin reports stunning usage figures, as does London in its early days, MBS limps along with about 70 rentals a day for the 400 bikes.

The reason, clear to everyone except those who run MBS, who press on in hope, is that you can’t legally ride a MBS without a helmet, and they are not, cannot be, supplied.

Everyone warned the RACV, the motoring group behind the bikes (suspicious?) that MBS could not work.

Now, much more is stake than the sad sight of docking stations full of unused bikes. (see film)

We have rightly seized upon this situation, to dramatize something which hitherto never got traction outside bike forums, and that is how our compulsory helmet law warps and stunts our cycle culture in toxic ways

Nobody cared before because the opinion setters in our cycle world all wear Lycra, love their helmets, and will tell you’d be mad to go even a yard on any bike in any situation without a helmet, so dire, so dangerous, (and inherently so) is cycling.

That sort of nonsense has ruled the roost till now. But as the excellent safety stats. come in from Dublin and Montreal, where for example, Bixis, the famous Montreal share bike, clocked up 3.5 million kms. with only five minor accidents in their 2009 season, some are saying that Emperor has no Lycra.

Hopefully, with the help of our pointing, and your interest, things will come to a head, and our very sensible suggestion that MBS bikes be exempted from compulsory helmets, at least on a trial basis, will be taken seriously.

At the moment, local denial has RACV spokespeople confidently predicting the opposite, that the rest of the world (that is 135 helmet free share bike schemes around the globe) will follow our lead, i.e. you’ll be forced to wear helmets on pain of fine, well before we budge an inch.

I guess if we don’t see signs of the tide turning pretty soon over your way, we’ll be sending over ambassadors of fear, grim skeletal figures with smashed helmets, to explain how satisfying it is to fear cycling.

More of this on my blog Http://

And here’s the key film; Melbourne Bike Share in Trouble?

Mike Rubbo

Dimitri said...

@Mike Rubbo

I am currently recovering after a bike crash. A very painful bike crash (...damn trolley tracks...). I'm not a fancy road biker, just an ordinary city rider.
If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I wouldn't be here to post this comment. I have bruises and abrasions on both my arms, legs and torso. My helmet is crashed but it saved my head.
Sorry Mike but what you say is unreasonable.

Rich Garella said...

Sorry about your bike crash Dimitri. But I didn't see Mike advocating that wearing a helmet be made illegal. You and I would still be free to wear one.