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Citizen complaint of the day: Plague of horrid bikes reaches Southie, Beacon Hill

Two rental bikes that don't belong in South Boston

A peeved citizen files a 311 complaint about all the green-and-yellow rental bikes dumped along the beach in South Boston:

These bikes have been here for 3 days. Everywhere on the beach are abandoned bikes. Who gave permission for this littering atrocity to operate in the city of Boston? Please remove the bikes!

A slightly less peeved citizen reports, without any commentary, a similarly abandoned green-and-yellow bike on Charles Street, Beacon Hill.

The LimeBikes, which come from points north of Boston, are actually working as designed: Unlike our Hubway Blue Bikes, which have to be returned to a docking station, these can just be abandoned anywhere, on the theory someone will see one and want to rent it - and in the meantime, they act as free advertising for the company that owns them.

Earlier:
It started in Charlestown.

Neighborhoods: 

Ad:

Comments

Abandoned bikes should be donated to youth centers and homeless shelters.

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I don't know what changed, but since the HubWay bikes have change to Blue I've noticed a LOT of homeless riding them in the Financial District. I saw a lady this morning trying to mount the bike and fall into a work van.

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How about buying some cheap bike locks and just locking them up where ever they appear. That should stop them spreading. And maybe get some attention from the owners.

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This will be a fun thread with thoughts on the tragedy of the commons and I can't imagine it having any unfair hot takes on the differences between bikes and motor vehicles littering public space.

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This is a 1st world problem, far below the concerns of immigrant families, homelessness, public schools, etc.

But that said, why have even more private vehicles cluttering up parks and sidewalks?

Remember, Boston doesn't see a dime from Lime Bike. But Lime (and others) make money by being able to store their bikes in public areas.

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You know its possible to care and advocate for multiple things at the same time right? Mobility options are very critical for the quality of life in our communities.

But disingenuous question aside, why have private vehicles cluttering up our streets for free? Shouldn't we be charging a market rate?

We could easily charge similar fees for companies that provide bike/scooter or other mobility options for the greater good of our communities and require that their members properly store the products they provide. If they don't. fines from the city can be passed on through the service to their members.

Hell lets take it a step further and provide bike corral parking on the streets, take out a few parking spots for cars and now we have designated places in our neighborhoods to house these aditional mobility options instead of just using the streets for car parking.

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What's your point? Yes, the city should provide better bike facilities and fine companies who disregard these and leave their bikes where they don't belong. Same with cars and everything else.

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What if there were no Zipcar stations, and people left them scattered all over the city?

I love the idea of bike sharing (being a Hubway/Blue Bikes member, myself) but it does seem like these bikes are strewn all over the place. Were it a bicycle the cyclist owned themselves, they'd probably do a better job parking it, but since the company sells the idea of "leave it anywhere," that's what happens.

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I have a point of comparison as well. All drivers pay excise taxes and fees, but some people park on the street for free, how about having those people pay market rate for street parking, whether at meters or non metered resident spots. It would dramatically reduce the amount of cars clogging up the streets and reduce traffic, since the massive subsidy for drivers would be somewhat reduced, and biking or public transit use would be more attractive to more people, who would in turn become advocates for increasing investment in public transit and maybe even get the governor to care. Sorry, "The Nations Most Popular Governor," to care.

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I agree!!!!! I'm all for bike sharing but these dockless bikes are annoying.

We have these Lime Bikes in Chelsea, and I have BEGGED City Council members to put some bike racks in around the city so people have a place to dump these off instead of everywhere. And I get told "that's not the purpose of these bikes"

Uh. So blocking egress or throwing them onto private property is?

Chelsea has few bike racks... mainly at City Hall and at the SL stations. Guess what? Lots of Lime Bikes get parked there. Amazing what would happen.

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What if there were no Zipcar stations, and people left them scattered all over the city?

Works fine in Seattle, where both car2go and ReachNow operate with citywide parking permits. (Zipcar still has its dedicated parking spot model.)

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We roll out the red carpet for private car parking on public streets for free but do very little for other mobility options, hence why private bikes from citizens and bike share companies are locked up to fences, trees, etc or strewn about our sidewalks blocking access.

So we agree that something more equitable needs to be done, what was your point?

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Never seen a hubway bike abandoned
on the streets of Boston... hubway has dedicated parking spaces for their bikes at docking stations on the street where cars used to have parking spaces. So what are you whining about again? If you see a car or a truck leaning up against a tree please call to have it towed immediately. I would.

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As a result, many communities in and around Boston lack these mobility options. Dockless bike shares can expanded their reach based on the demand of the user base, which is a win win for everyone if managed properly. But it will need bike corrals to aid in this expansion, which will also provide sorely needed parking for private bikes too.

I guess thats what I'm whining about but go ahead and setup another strawman.

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It's funny, you always go right for the car hatred in any story you can. A brand new bike lane opens and you talk about car hatred. Bikes strewn across the city and you talk about car hatred. Try looking at things this way, we're making baby steps toward alternate transportation. After all, we do need to take baby steps before we can run. Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot of your talking points. We definitely need way better public and alternate transportation. I take the red line and every time we stop in a tunnel for endless unknown reasons or we have to get off a dead train I am frustrated because it happens way too often. I also wish there were a lot less cars on the road. I like riding my bike. But I see progress when a bike lane opens, or a dedicated bus lane opens. Yeah we need to do lots more, but at least the city is acknowledging that more needs to be done and they're trying things. It's the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And everyone in Boston knows it's not a fast moving train!

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I just hate designing our communities around cars. Or more specifically in this case, I hate how much public space we dedicate to free parking and how inequitable it is with regards to other mobility options.

You understand the difference right?

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I do understand the difference But you always go negative was my point. Your first comment in this post:
"This will be a fun thread with thoughts on the tragedy of the commons and I can't imagine it having any unfair hot takes on the differences between bikes and motor vehicles littering public space.
Why do you feel the need to bring cars into every conversation?

You do understand my question right?

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And I absolutely acknowledge the positives of things like cars too.

Again I just don't feel like our communities should be designed mainly around cars, which includes how we store private vehicles on public space, pretty much on topic with OPs 311 request. Sorry if the negativity triggers you.

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Trigger me? Nah. I'm a glass half full kind of guy. My perception of the world around me determines my happiness. I look for the good in situations. It keeps my stress levels down. The T does test my patience routinely however...

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N/T

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Last week. Someone left the abhorrent hunk of crap right in from of my building.

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Don't cut yourself on that edge, big guy.

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I have a bruise on my arm from throwing one onto the grass this morning, because it had been left perpendicular to the walkway at the train station. But that's as far as I'll go. They are all over Malden. I hate them.

* I'm all for bicycle sharing. Just have a place for them. NOT on the sidewalks, cannibalizing pedestrian areas.

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The creeping plague has reached Watertown Apparently an attempt to encircle Boston and Cambridge before the invasion.

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I've seen them at Revere Beach.

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I counted 39 of them within 5 miles when I was on a run in Watertown on Sunday. It's like they appeared overnight! Not many of them seem to have moved since then.

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Many suburbs including the above-mentioned Chelsea, Revere, and Watertown are participating in this dockless bike-sharing program, organized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

MAPC Selects LimeBike, Spin for 15-Community Regional Bike Share System

I'm in favor of anything that increases bicycle ridership, including this program.

Some suburbs that aren't participating in the MAPC program have selected other dockless companies. Lynn has Ant Bicycles, while Quincy has Ofo.

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A new form of space saver for snow storms! Winter is just around the corner, stock up now, Southie

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By this summer, LimeBike and Spin plan to put 2,000 bikes on the roads of Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop.

Notably absent from that list are Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville — the four communities that use the Hubway system. Their agreement with the private company that operates Hubway bars other bike-share systems.

The Hubway municipalities have all but admitted they can’t really stop dockless riders from crossing their borders, but MAPC director Marc Draisen said the companies involved in the new regional venture will be tasked with quickly collecting bikes if they do.

“We’re not fools. We know some people probably will, but they’re not supposed to” go into the Hubway communities, he said. “It will be the responsibility of the companies to get them.”

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/04/13/thousands-dockless-bikes-ar...

hahah. I guess we're already seeing how "quickly" they are collecting bikes outside their borders.

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Yeah I can't believe they actually expected people not to ride them into Hubway cities. Like really, you expect someone in Everett not to hop on one of these to ride over to Sullivan?

Somerville is full of them already. They're along the Community Path, they're in Davis, they're by Sullivan, and there is now even one on my street in Winter Hill.

They're gonna have to put in a lot of effort to collect these bikes quickly.

Alternatively, I wonder if there's some way to allow LimeBike rentals but only to destinations outside the 'Hubway zone' - allowing the people who ride into the zone to then ride the bike back home afterward, doing LimeBike's re-positioning job for them.

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the nips, scratchies, needles, and garbage strewn all over South Boston than a handful of new bikes.

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If you listed out all the different types of trash and the amount of it on the streets these bikes wouldn't make the top 25 list in South Boston.

The worst is Bud Light cans or bottles. If you come across one that means Bud Light Bros were out and trashing the neighborhood. We need to start a new movement:

#BanBudLightBrosFromBoston

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If you want less litter in the city, repealing the bottle bill is probably a good place to start.

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These are NOT abandoned bikes.

These are the new Millennial space savers. This is how the outside transplants are adapting to Southie and the space saver culture.

They are supposed to be on the street to hold a parking space for either an auto, another bike, or jogger, who for what ever reason, decides to stand there.

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Yet another complaint featuring a photo of bicycles that are parked out of the way, leaving the sidewalk free for use. What's the problem here again? Get over yourselves.

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Bluebikeophiles (formerly Hubwayophiles) don't like the idea that there might be an alternative way to get people to ride bikes more. No need for any other type of bike share, we already have the prefect one in place.

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If lime and others wanted to stop people from leaving them in cities that arent in their program, or the state had any interest in regulating tech companies, they could make a geofence so the bikes couldnt be left, or even enter, cities that arent in the municipality. Lyft and Uber did this to stop people from picking up passengers at the airport for awhile. The bikes could be rendered unrideable as they are before payment if they cross into a non partnering city or town.

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If you leave a six pack and bucket of wings on the sidewalk in Southie, you are a hero. Oh, the irony.

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Since nobody even wants to be bothered riding these shoddy things a second time, maybe the solution to the problem of abandonment is to require that all share bikes be made with the same standards of design and quality as typical bikes. I bet the owners would act more responsibly If their assets were desirable things instead of the livestrong wrist band of bikes. To draw a parallel: if all Zip Cars were Chevy Citations, Zip Cars might be abandoned more often than they are now.

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Saw a couple leaning on the wall in front of George Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park.

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How, exactly, do these bikes make money for the owners? It appears that somebody can just pick one up wherever he or she finds it, ride it wherever wished, drop it anywhere and never have to pay anything. Am I missing some secret of operation?

I'm serious. Excuse my abysmal ignorance if it's something a non-61-year-old cellphone user finds obvious.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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See that black clamp around the back wheel? You can't unlock that without the app, and presumably the app charges you for doing so.

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Hubway and its minders (which have now been bought by Lyft) spent a lot of time to figure out how to create a viable, long-term, sustainable business model. The Lime/Spin/Ofo/whatevers of the world just take VC money and set it on fire. It might work fine in the summer, but when these bikes are entombed in snowbanks or plowed in to oblivion in the winter, do they just push more out on the streets next year? Are they even making money on the ones they have now? I wonder …

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Remember when a bicycle was something you could ride into any municipality?

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Does anyone know the value of each bike? I'm told they are made in China and worth about $29 if sold retail. My guess is they are junk if the owners are willing to leave them out in any weather and have people throwing them in dumpsters, the ocean, rolling them in front of cars etc.

That raises question two, who is liable when the inevitable critical injury or death happens even if it's not the fault of the condition of the bike? What if someone trips over a bike? We all know lawyers will sue all involved including the bike rental company, manufacturer and city. Has this questioned been asked?

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It’s called get a life and keep waking you nagging loser

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I have my spacesaver.

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Must suck going through life so miserably where you complain about everything

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For the record when this was proposed I brought up a NYT article about problems with these in China. At the time I said it sounded overblown but an indication that there could be trouble ahead. In practice I have no problem with them. When I go around I might see from 5 to 10 of these every time out. The are bicycles. Sitting on the side of the road. If you are on the sidewalk you may need to (gasp) walk around them.

Does this set you off? Does it "trigger" you, as the trolls say? ("Tell Malden to come pick up its trash!"). I feel this may say more about you than the bikes. Some people are only happy when they are complaining. "What if I tripped over one and break my hip?" -Good Lord

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