A reader named Allison posted the following comment in the Self-Service Bicycle Rent/Sharing Program’ (by the sea) thread, but it deserves it’s own post because it’s so good. So here it is!
Bike sharing programs are wonderful and work in places around the world that have have an existing bike culture; bike routes and an equal share of the roads with cars. We do not currently have that in Long Beach (but we could, and quite easily).
As this proposal stands, the company would introduce up to 400 bikes into the community. Long Beach cannot at this time handle 400 more bikes on the sidewalks and/or roads. Furthermore, these bikes would more than likely be rented to out of towners which is great for business in areas not surrounding the LIRR; however, without bike lanes and an understanding of the flow of traffic in this city (I’m thinking of the West End in particular on this one) this could lead to a potential traffic clog and safety issue for bikers, drivers and pedestrians.
A second issue is the lack of parking we already have. On any summer day there is a shortage of bike racks which leads bikes to be locked to the boardwalk ramps or using inconvenient placed structures that create unsafe sidewalks for pedestrians, strollers and handicapped. If there is a need for bike racks as it is, where would the installation of between 20 – 40 locking racks for up to 400 rental bikes exactly be?
Third – and most important- is the local bike shops that already rent bikes. The owner of Buddy’s Bikes on Beech St and Local Cycles on Park were not aware of this program; they simply were not approached by any member of the council about a need to bump up bike rentals and/or to make them more conveniant. Charles Theofan simply did not approach them. What gives? Since when has Long Beach shut our their own business owners to favor out of state business?
And finally, this bike sharing program would lock our city into a 6 year contract. 6 years.
While I understand the need to bump up revenue via 10% share of profits via advertising, the consequences to our streets, business owners and overall safety is not worth it.