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Published on June 8th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


7 Bikesharing Stories You Probably Missed — Dockless vs Docked, Bike Diversity, Lyft Bikesharing, & More!

June 8th, 2018 by  

We obsessively cover electric vehicle news here on CleanTechnica since it’s one of the top solutions to global warming and air pollution. But there’s one thing greener than electric cars for city transport — bicycling!

Biking has had decent growth in certain cities around the world in recent years, and one of the biggest innovations stimulating that growth has been bikesharing. I recently ran across (i.e., searched out) recent bikesharing news that has slipped through our editorial fingers. Check out the stories below and click on the subheadings for more information and discussion.

1. Bikes should be diverse too. Detroit bikeshare gets it.

Detroit’s public bikeshare, MoGo, has gone where few (no?) bikeshares have gone before. Its new Adaptive MoGo program adds bikes for different abilities to the bikeshare fleet. What kind of bikes? These kinds of bikes:

  • Three upright cargo tricycles
  • Two recumbent tricycles
  • One in-line recumbent tandem
  • Two hand tricycles
  • Three two-wheeled tandems
  • One side-by-side recumbent tandem
  • One front loading trailer

Granted, it’s only a pilot program for now. But it seems like this should be the norm, no?

2. Got a problem with dockless bikes? How about these 5 solutions?

Dockless bikesharing or scooter sharing is great if you don’t want to find a station to return a bike/scooter to, but it also results in swarms of bikes/scooters being left all over sidewalks and in all manner of places. Furthermore, the bikes/scooters can bundle up in some areas while being in low supply elsewhere — well, that happens with all vehicle sharing programs, but dockless systems make it harder to round up the vehicles and shift them around in a more balanced way again.

How to solve the conundrum? Researchers from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) think it comes down to: transit integration, data sharing, public space management, user protections, and dedicated staff. If you want more info on this, the links in that article, or the report itself.

3. Oh, here’s one more idea to support dockless bikesharing…

To supplement the above, or part of it, Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog has a pro tip for you that she picked up from bikeshare expert Alex Baca: create spaces on the sidewalk for them.

Wow, who saw that one coming?

It seems simple, but it really is something that should be considered and planned out at the municipal level. If you’re going to have 1,000 bikes floating around, it’s just sensible to mark out places around the city where people can and should easily park them.

4. But dockless bikesharing has another problem — underutilization.

If you haven’t noticed, “dockless” is all the rage in the bikesharing world. However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea. Stations offer a kind of stability, predictability, visibility, and comfort. Well, as it turns out, dockless bikesharing systems account for 44% of the USA’s bikesharing bikes … but just 4% of the trips. Yikes!

That said, dockless bikesharing programs are newer. Maybe they just need more time to attract awareness and users.

Or maybe they’ve got some fundamental problems to deal with.

5. Reaching lower-income neighborhoods.

Dockless bikeshare pilot programs are rolling out in some underserved, lower-income neighborhoods. Whether this leads to a trend, whether these pilot programs stick around and expand, and whether this is the start of a significant improvement to transportation options in lower-income areas, we’ll see — but it’s certainly some nice news.

6. Wait a second, how many types of bikesharing are there?

Getting confused by all the bikesharing terminology? Dockless vs docked, electric vs “normal,” public vs private, awesome vs lame — how many different ways can you split up a bikesharing network. Alex Baca tries to break it down for you in CityLab and explain why it’s so important.

7. Uber & Lyft jump & jive in.

Transportation as a Service (TaaS) is the name of the game, and that means integrating transportation services as much as possible to win out with consumers in the long run. So, it’s not too surprising to find out that Lyft is reportedly acquiring Motivate, which is the company behind NYC’s giant Citi Bike program and San Francisco’s younger Ford GoBikes program.

This followers Uber buying the bikesharing company Jump, something we covered back in April.

Got any other good bikesharing stories for us? Drop them in the comments below. 


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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