Will BikeShare Riders Get ‘Tossed Under The Bus’?

Background Reading

Have you had any interactions with unsafe Divvy riders?
Posted by John Greenfield on September 23, 2014 at 10:50am

At a recent Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting, someone said they felt Divvy riders are less likely to be aware of, and/or compliant with, important rules of the road than other cyclists. I’m working on an article on the topic.

In my experience, it’s not uncommon to see Divvy riders pedaling on sidewalks, or against traffic, although I’m not sure whether this behavior is more common among bike-share users, or if it just seems that way because the bright-blue bikes are conspicuous.

What’s your take on the issue? Have you had an run-ins with unsafe Divvy riders? Ever had a conversation with one? Was the person a day pass holder or an annual member?
Thanks,
John Greenfield

Summary

Somebody has to pay for what has happened in New York City. And as if on cue the StreetsBlog guys are going to offer up riders who might be the ‘visible face of scofflaw behavior‘. That is going to be a bit awkward after having had this article posted on the safe behavior of BikeShare riders in New York City itself.

But even their parent outlet has praised these bikes, which might just be the salvation of the Urban Cycling Movement.

BikeShare Eliminates Several Urgent Problems

  • Parking is self-contained in the docking itself. No need for expensive and unsightly inverted U-stands where privately owned bikes are often locked up in a manner that disturbs pedestrian flow along the sidewalks behind them.
  • BikeShare bikes are almost theft-less. Removing a BikeShare bike is not only difficult but requires some sort of credit card information from the bandit.
  • BikeShare bikes are slow and clunkier than their private counterparts. While they can be ridden faster it takes much more energy from the ‘speed demon‘ who wants to race one. No one that I know of is using these things to compete on Strava.
  • People riding these bikes do not have to be mechanically inclined. You pick out a bike and ride it. The tires and other routine maintenance are taken care of by the load-balancing crew.
  • Flats are rare since the tires are sturdier than those often ridden by private riders. If you are familiar with tire brands like the Schwalbe Marathon then you know what kinds of tires I am referring to. These have lots of rolling resistance as compared to racing tires but they are quite impervious to most glass and metal shards.
  • You do not have to carry special lights. Most private bike owners are either too lazy or cheap to buy the needed lighting for their bikes. They would rather ride ‘ninja-style‘. BikeShare bikes have font facing LED light arrays that keep them visible even at night. And for the rear there are LED lights mounted low where modern car lights are aimed to provide visibility from the rear.
  • The braking systems on BikeShare bikes function even in snow and ice, let alone water. These are all-weather braking systems that are designed to work year-round. They do an admirable job of providing good brake modulation and undiminished stopping power even in bad weather.
  • Saddles Are Not Stolen. Stealing a saddle from a BikeShare bike is difficult. Vandals who need to get their jollies might ‘spray paint‘ these bikes but the parts are not easily filched.
  • Front Rack and Fender Skirts. With the exception of Dutch bikes no one makes bikes these days that offer the amenities of a BikeShare bike. You get a front rack for those briefcases and purses that you might want to keep out of the spokes. And along those same lines riding a BikeShare bike with a long coat is safer by far than on any privately owned bike.
  • Kickstands, glorious kickstands! In today’s world the lowly kickstand has gone MIA. Don’t know why but they make all the sense in the world to those not racing. But of course the problem is that everyone is a ‘wannabe‘ so racing kits, aerowheels, sweptback helmets and everything in between is gonna crowd out the most useful tool in our arsenal at the next rest stop, the kickstand.