Has anyone used one of the blue bikes yet? Or does anyone plan to do so?

Tags: Bike, Melbourne, RACV, Share, scheme

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I have no real need for the scheme but have thought about using it to boost the numbers :) Haven't had time yet but may take a few 29 minute jaunts around the CBD at lunchtimes just to see what it's like.
Do you think the scheme is likely to be popular, Simon?
Who do you think will be likely to need/use it?
Is the pricing OK?
Do you see any problems with the scheme?

(Questions... so many questions!)
Hi, I went for a ride on the first day and wrote a review about the experience if you're interested....http://cyclestyle.com.au/test-ride-melbourne-bike-share/
Nice review, very thorough, and it's a fair point about preferring to live in a city where the government supports bike share, even if the helmet issue is, well... an issue :-)
I'm not sure, i think the people best positioned to use it are those who live in the CBD. No need to buy a bike, maintain it, store it in your shoebok apartment etc. I think there's about 7-8000 CBD residents at the moment with more on the way (not sure if that include docklands though).

I'd probably use it if i had friends visiting from out of town. I think it would be cheaper than a days rental from a tourist operated system but is only really useful for tourists if they have easy access to a helmet (i.e. loaned from me).

I've floated the idea of getting a corporate subscription at the office but the people who are interested in riding to meetings also ride to work and so would be likely to use their own bike.

I think the pricing is OK, $2.50 for a day's use on a casual basis seems is good, unless you've already paid for your metcard that day, in which case why would you bother?

Other than the helmet issue i don't think there's any huge problems, we'll have to wait and see how that pans out.
I was out at a cafe in Fed Sqr on Tuesday night and noticed the rack of sharers near there. Wandered over and lifted the back of one by the saddle to assess its weight. I've lifted lighter exercise bikes. I can't see how they'll be workable without a helmet hire scheme and I can't see how that could be hygienic.

For me, if I'm not taking the bike, I don't want to carry my helmet on the offy that I'll hire a sharer. I don't like riding flat pedals either. Too much work if I'm not clipped in.

My moans aside, the racks weren't full and the gaps were random, so somebody must be using them.
I've seen a few people riding them - without helmets! - and although I hope it doesn't, i think the scheme is going to fail.

For one simple reason - helmet laws.

No, I don't want to start a longwinded debate about helmet laws. I don't really agree with them, but for better or worse, that's the law we have, and it's a case of live with it, get elected on a "no bike helmet" platform, or move to Paris.

To my way of thinking, share bikes are about deciding - NOW - to jump on a bike to ride to that cafe/shop/meeting that's a bit far to walk to. It's an alternate form of public transport. I've ridden a couple VeLib bikes in Paris and I can happily report that share bikes work wonderfully in cities that don't require a helmet.

I'm not going to keep a 'spare' helmet in my office just in case I want to use the system, and what if I did, and then decided to ride back from the meeting I'd just walked to? What happens then?

I have a horrible feeling that a couple of years from now the program will be scrapped - the City of Melbourne will say "we built it, but they didn't come"
Its not just the helmet laws, its the Australian attitude that cycling is a dangerous, specialised, high-risk activity needing special gear - unlike Europe where it is viewed around town as just another way of getting from A to B. Just look at some of the articles about them "They look alright, but I wouldn't ride one its too dangerous", or even "in addition to bringing your helmet bring your lights too" It's a wonder that the black clad melbourne majority can work up the courage to walk around outside in the gloomier months of the year... oh, I forgot, walking around at night in black clothes through poorly lit streets is normal, cycling is a highly dangerous, specialised, high-risk activity...

I think tourists will use them, and if they're fined they'll probably just leave the country owing the fines. Sadly I think they'll fail through a combination of being vandalised, stolen, dumped and ignored into uselessness.
I wrote a review of the scheme back on 2 June.

http://melbourneurbanist.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/is-melbourne-bicy...

The compulsory helmet is of course its biggest weakness, but it's also too expensive for tourists and it's starting with way too few parking stations - they're concentrated along the public transport rich Swanston St spine. And there are only 100 bikes so you can't be confident there will be a bike available for your return journey. It's like it was set up to fail.

But it's a misconceived idea anyway. What's the sense in taxpayers funding a new transport mode that competes against off-peak public transport?. This is really just about political spin IMHO.
It's an interesting point about the public transport competition link. Do you think there might be some sort of agenda at work? Something like, "we've given you share bikes, now we're banning bikes from trains."

Is that just too "conspiracy theory?" :-)
That is a trifle paranoid. More like "we've funded share bikes so stop complaining that we're not doing enough for cycling or the environment". :-)
I can't see many people at all using the bike share scheme. So many barriers to people using it. the helmet issue will stop almost everyone using it. I ride a bike almost everywhere i go, but the idea of having to carry my helmet will stop me using it entirely. If I was going to take a helmet, why wouldn't I i just ride my own bike. And why would anyone bother when there are trams, buses and trains all over the place. I thought they might perhaps have tried hiring helmets with the bikes (with a disposable liner) or perhaps modified the helmet law (not needed if your speed is less than 15kph?)
The most annoying thing is that the government will now claim that they have spent over $5m on cycling. But without helping anyone really.
And while I can understand using competitive tendering to find someone to run the system, I don't believe RACV will the commitment to try and keep the system running. They will do it while it makes them a profit,then drop it.
And lastly, I figure that the $5m would have bought about 5,000 fold up bikes which could have been distributed (perhaps to anyone who bought an annual public transport ticket or fleets provided to backpackersldoges, motels, businesses) with much better benefit for the community.

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