Dumb Bikes

20 Random Thoughts About Dockless Bike and Scooter Share

A list of thoughts as random as the bikes strewn about my neighborhood.

  1. The scooters are super fun. Like SUPER.
  2. I was a menace the first time I tried a scooter. Seriously dangerous. Had to bail three times before I figured out the brakes. Bicyclists in Saint Paul’s bike lane said cuss words at me.
  3. I had a Nice Ride membership, but let it expire since the dock I liked went away.
  4. The Lime bikes are awkward to ride.
  5. I enjoy checking the app more than I should to see if scooters are nearby.
  6. There doesn’t seem to be a good way to report damaged bikes if the person who used it isn’t the one who damaged it (unless you are a nice, conscientious person who does this sort of thing and you have the app).
  7. There are rightful concerns about accessibility of sidewalks.
  8. I brought a bike home and parked it in front of my house. Don’t do this. It was there for five days and my neighbors asked questions.
  9. I brought a scooter home and it was gone in less than five minutes.
  10. The farthest I have taken a scooter is five miles. It makes me nervous that I can’t take my hands off the handle bars to scratch my nose or signal a turn because I am not proficient yet (see thought #2).
  11. There needs to be a membership structure to bring down costs. This is kinda expensive. If it’s expensive it will just be a lark rather than transportation.
  12. I am curious how and when (if?) the bikes begin to find a pattern or rhythm. Do they end up clustering in certain areas? Like cow paths or desire paths, do bikes create their own docks?
  13. When I’m riding a scooter people either sneer at me or laugh. I guess I don’t understand the sneering.
  14. The scooters and Saint Paul’s pot holes don’t mix well.
  15. I like just finding a bike when I want one and leaving it at my destination (mostly, see #8), but am concerned about clutter or perceptions that they are messy.
  16. Co-workers who never could figure out Nice Ride (the how or the why) are using the scooters. Some have tried the bikes.
  17. I doubt the scooters are a net environmental gain, like Lime seems to imply. They have to be picked up by people in vehicles nightly to be recharged and then “redeployed.” No car trip was really saved.
  18. I appreciate that they were deployed in all areas of the city. I also understand why it is more difficult to spread docked bikes equitably, rather than just efficiently.
  19. The bikes tip over in wind that isn’t even that strong. After the storm the other night they were all on their sides.
  20. I hope that people understand that this is new and is still figuring itself out and don’t condemn it outright. Dockless bike share (and scooters!) are promising, but there are some kinks to be evened out.

Day five and my neighbors were asking questions.

Dana DeMaster

About Dana DeMaster

Dana DeMaster, MPP, is a program evaluator and researcher for human services programs who lives and bikes in Saint Paul. When she’s not analyzing data, she can be found rabble-rousing for neighborhood bike improvements in Saint Paul, playing Legos with her two children, or sewing practical things. You can find some of her other writing on the Grease Rag and Wrench blog.