The city of Philadelphia has recently opened the door to a new wave of transportation – dockless bike sharing. Soon, bike sharing companies will be popping up in Center City and eventually will take over their new home, our sidewalks. Bike Sharing companies, such as LimeBike and Spin, offer tourists and local residents the opportunity to freely hop on and off bicycles. New trends such as dock-less bikes allow for a fresh burst or urban mobility and transportation, similar to what Uber and Lyft did a few years ago. Dockless bikes have taken off in buzzing metropolises such as Washington, D.C, Seattle, and Dallas. It’s fair to say, it’s only a matter of time before these bikes hit the streets of Philly.
These app-driven transit options are a convenient way to hop around the city because they allow users to hop on and off anywhere including residential areas and busy pedestrian pathways in the center of the city. Investors around the country are pouring money into scooter and bike startups. Limebike has emerged as one of the top bicycle sharing companies at the moment, the bikes unique green color and cheap prices are what make it such a standout. Service typically starts at one-dollar for a 30-minute ride. It was founded in January 2017 and raised 12 million dollars in funding. Each bicycle is equipped with GPS units and 3G connectivity.
img sourceLimebikes first location launched at The University of North Carolina in June 2017 and has since broadened to cities across the US. The expansion is so rapid they can’t seem to keep up with demand – on their website you can “vote” to bring Limebike to your city or college campus.
These distributions of bikes around many cities seem to have happened overnight across the nation. This has caused a lot of backfire from locals due to their scattershot manners and random placements. Unlike other bike rentals such as Indego, a Philly based bike sharing company that has fixed docking locations, new bike share companies have created what some may argue as chaotic addition to Urban landscapes that interferes with public space. According to local attorneys in Philadelphia, bike accidents occur in areas of high traffic and according to Pennsylvania law, bicyclists over the age of 12 are not required to wear helmets. This can be a recipe for disaster because an increase in bicycles in the city maximizes the chances for bicycle-related accidents.
The biggest concern around cities right now is where the dockless bikes will be stored and how they will be collected around certain areas in the city. Many believe that the tiny streets in the dense parts of Philly can cause this to be a problem. It seems like the only ideal place with ample room to park a bike would be near intersections or by stop-signs — a place where most bicycle accidents generally occur. The real danger is the fact that once the bike is abandoned on the street, the person who docked it there is no longer responsible for its whereabouts. As a result, they have no incentive to ensure it won’t fall over or get in the way of pedestrians or even other bikers.