Watch: Rooted In Rights why proper bike share parking is so important

It should be common sense, but don’t block walkways when you park a bike share bike. But you should also go a step further and think, would this bike impede someone with a vision impairment? Is it too close to a bus stop, curb ramp or building entrance?

Disability rights organization Rooted In Rights partnered with SDOT to produce a short video clearly showing some problems poorly located bikes can cause people with various disabilities. Sometimes users don’t park correctly and sometimes other people or the weather move or knock them over. Either way, if you see a problematic bike, do everyone a favor and move it.

Here’s the parking guide we made to help:

Concept image of a sample city street, noting areas where bikes should be parked (such as the furniture zone of a sidewalk or on-street bike corral) and areas that are off-limits (such as bus stops, walkways and curb ramps).

Annotations by Seattle Bike Blog. Base image from SDOT’s draft update for their Right of Way Improvement Manual.

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11 Responses to Watch: Rooted In Rights why proper bike share parking is so important

  1. Damon says:

    Maybe the arrow pointing at the bike corral should be half-size, or smaller? I’ve been frustrated several times, looking for a place to park my bike, to see a nearby corral filled with Limes or Jumps.

    A bike corral is a fine place to park a bikeshare bike if there’s no other reasonable stretch of pavement around. But that’s a pretty rare situation. More often, it’s an unnecessary use of infrastructure we all share.

    • Que says:

      Agreed, there should be no rent bikes near or on any kind of bike rack parking until these companies make a major investment in infrastructure, both in the form of new racks and new lanes and trails.

      • asdf2 says:

        The companies are already paying for the construction of more bike racks with their fees. But it’s not reasonable to expect them to pay for bike lanes and trails. Those are the responsibility of the city, since it benefits everyone.

        Also worth mentioning, Lime recently raised their prices again. It’s now 25 cents/minute, a whopping 67% increase over what it was just a few months ago, and a 150% increase over what it was when Lime e-bikes first began operating in Seattle about a year and a half ago. It’s now gotten to the point where renting a Lime bike costs nearly as much to get from point a to point b as a shared Uber or Lyft ride in a car – especially in and around the downtown area where frequent stoplights require you to rent the bike for a lot of minutes to go pretty much anywhere. And the fees that the city is charging is no doubt putting pressure on Lime to raise prices to pay for it.

        I can’t speak for others, but the increases in price have lead to me personally riding Lime bikes much less than I used to. When considering on a trip by basis how much it’s going to cost and weighing the cost-benefit against other modes, Lime just doesn’t compete like it used to. For some trips, Uber and Lyft may have actually gotten cheaper. Consider this trip, for example, from downtown to Green Lake (https://goo.gl/maps/MGikN2ZHewneggSMA). As of the time I’m writing this, I’m seeing a quote of $7.29 with UberPool and $11.88 on LyftLine (excluding both tip and promotions). Google estimates 41 minutes to bike the 6.1 miles, which translates into $1+$0.25*41 = $11.25. So, when comparing prices between Uber, Lyft and Lime, even after adding in a 15% tip, Uber still wins the price battle, and, thanks to I-5, Uber probably also wins on time too, by a large margin. You’d have to really, really want the bike experience to choose Lime over Uber under these conditions.

        Back when Lime was cheaper, it could be thought of as a budget alternative to Lyft and Uber. Now, that is just no longer the case.

      • Steven Lorenza says:

        I don’t think the bike share as it is will be around in a couple years. Expect calls then to return to a city system. Hope everyone enjoyed the bikeshare bubble.

      • JAT says:

        Well, I remember the original rack/dock-based bike share model here in Seattle which seemed to make sense to me, and when that went away that’s when this dockless model quickly took hold.

        Picking up the bikes wherever and leaving them wherever – is the cornerstone of their model. Like it or not (and I don’t) embracing the inconsiderate whims of their customers is how their business works: shifting the externalizes of bike parking onto us.

        I’m agnostic on bike lanes, particularly protected bike lanes, but if we’re going to have them then I’m in full agreement with asdf2 below (or above not sure where this reply will plant itself) they are the responsibility of the municipality. And courteous sensible bike parking in a dockless world? That’s citizenship (in the community sense not the immigration & naturalization sense).

      • Ballard Biker says:

        And the fees that the city is charging is no doubt putting pressure on Lime to raise prices to pay for it.

        More likely, their data harvesting honeymoon has come to an end and they needed to find a different way to make money. It could also be that their scooter division, which reports are showing to be unsustainability expensive, is bleeding them dry, so they need to make up the difference in their other offerings.

        Uber already loses $4 billion a year, so it’s no skin off their back to artificially suppress their bike prices to try to drive out competition.

      • MA says:

        Uber just upped their per minute charge to $0.25 to match Lime though still no unlock charge.

  2. Ballard Biker says:

    While the situation isn’t a dystopian wasteland like Sinclair Media sensationalized, illegally parked bikes are rapidly becoming a nuisance, borderlining on dangerous.

    The reporting system is a joke. It involves contacting the companies directly. There’s no transparency, no paper trail and nothing happened both times I tested the reporting system. SDOT should instead require each company to integrate improper bike reporting into their “Find it, Fix it” app. That way the City can at least keep tabs on how each company is handling improper bike reporting.

    Don’t forget, these are for-profit companies. If they can’t show any corporate responsibility by actively discouraging their users from illegally parking their bikes, then the City should start levying fines against the companies themselves.

    Of course it’s easier to just relocate an improperly parked bike onto the nearest roadway. They get relocated pretty quickly then when it’s interfering with cars!

  3. Skylar Thompson says:

    Since I’m able, whenever I see an improperly-parked bike, I try to find a close-by spot that isn’t as impacting to people who are unable to move them (those battery-powered bikes are especially hard to move when they’re locked).

    That said, at least it’s *possible* for some people to move an improperly-parked bike. In the case of improperly-parked cars, though, it’s impossible short of the rare occurrences when the city decides to enforce the law and send out a tow truck.

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