Goodbye Lime Bikes, We Never Cared


From reddit user u/Upper_Left_Corner

Lime isn’t bringing its bikes back to Saint Paul in 2019 and I think that’s fine.

And if I died while riding my bike the cops in Saint Paul would be nonplussed.

I tried riding a Lime last year. Not the scooter; those were fine, if a little boring. But the green bikes were heavy, slow, they demanded physical labor from you in addition to the money per minute.

Public Works removed Alan Grahn’s ghost bike from Summit and Snelling last year in under a month after a hail of online complaints that it was haunting and traumatic to the kids at the school down the street. The community ride in Alan’s memory had a helmeted Mayor Carter asking honking motorists to calm down while solemn riders rolled past. A community’s attempts at grieving were met with irritation, and quickly swept out of sight.

Those Lime bikes, despite the theatrical complaints of obstruction from drivers and newspaper columnists, always did seem to end up fallen halfway onto the path along Mississippi River Boulevard. I can’t remember how many of them I hurled off the pavement on and onto the grass as I tried to go to and fro. It got tiresome, stopping and chucking those ugly green frames.  

Dan Lytle was crushed to death by a driver a hundred yards from our big beautiful cathedral two weeks ago. SPPD Sgt. Mike Ernster brought that little microphone stand of his out to the corner of Kellogg and John Ireland then contorted the English language to create as much sterile distance as possible between the person driving and the shattered body of a man, dead in the street. I imagine Sgt. Ernster gets tired of doing that every time someone gets smashed to pieces on a road in Saint Paul.

I think we’ve gotten all the benefit we can as a community from the Lime bikes. They very obviously raised Joe Soucheray’s blood pressure and I’d give high schoolers service hours for every moment spent in pursuit of that goal. But he’s already written his cranky article and I reckon we’ve entered diminishing returns in that arena.

Maybe we should just lean in to the frivolous bikes, like we do with Ayd Mill Road.  We’re about to spend seven times our community’s yearly bike budget to repave a creek bed so folks in Eagan can cut through Saint Paul to Minneapolis a bit faster. If we’re gonna dump 3.5 mil into Summit Hill’s ugliest sin we may as well keep the dumb green bikes that nobody uses.

Forgive the hyperbole. It’s hard to be concerned about the loss of rentable bikes in a town where cars kill more people than guns, but the cops wear bulletproof vests and not the obnoxious blinky lights they’d like to staple on to every night jogger. So goodbye to Lime bikes; maybe we can buy the stock they left behind to paint white for the next ghost bike.

26 thoughts on “Goodbye Lime Bikes, We Never Cared

  1. Steve S

    Imagine, if you will, coming up to a red light at an intersection and seeing groups of people bicycling and then the light turns green and you have to slam on the breaks because the car in front of you slams on the brakes because the bicyclists keep going and there’s no sign or traffic direction or anything that says the bicyclists shouldn’t follow the rules of the road.

    I honked at first and I was irritated because I didn’t know it was an organized ride in honor of a tragic death. Eventually a cyclist stopped and started explaining to those of us up front what was going on. But before that, the community’s attempt at grieving just looked to me like a group of bicyclists willing to risk death by biking through red lights.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      There was a huge mass of people on bikes taking up the whole road. If you had to “slam on the brakes” you don’t sound like you were paying much attention.

    2. GlowBoy

      What does an organized group ride have to do with this article? Were they on LimeBikes? I don’t think so.

    3. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

      Moderator’s Note: I removed a comment here that was getting too personal. I would suggest taking people’s opinions at face value and not assuming things about people’s motivations.

    4. Mike SonnMike Sonn

      Maybe stop a second and think to yourself “why is this group of cyclists out here doing this thing that is only slightly inconveniencing me?” I’d argue it doesn’t need someone to stop and individually explain to you why they might be out there. Instead, give grace in this instance and realize that 30 seconds to several minutes to let the event pass you by is a small blip in, what I’m going to correctly assume, was a very smooth and uneventful car trip around St Paul.

      1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

        To expand on Mike’s point, rethinking how we use our streets is a concept that we could explore. Streets are public spaces! New Orleans has a very different attitude about its streets, and one travelling around NOLA in a car half-expects to be delayed during certain times of the day or night because of other uses for the space. In many cities around the world, other uses for space besides fast car travel are more normal.

      2. Steve S

        I don’t mind people commenting that their experience was different from mine. Maybe a huge portion of the drivers knew what was going on and still honked and weren’t happy. That wasn’t me and that wouldn’t be right. I thought the car in front of me was going to take some bicyclists out and initially there wasn’t a buffer of cars stopped at that intersection to protect the bicyclists. From my point-of-view it was dangerous for the bicyclists. Maybe every other intersection was fine. I tried to describe only my experience.

        I didn’t say anything about convenience. And when you want to comment fully about your specific experience at that event, I’ll respect that it was different and not try to tell you how to think or feel or assume anything about you.

  2. GlowBoy

    Well, I will miss them. I like the ability to do a one-way rental where I actually need to do it, not where NIceRide happens to put their stations. I’ve ridden LimeBikes in Seattle on a number of occasions too. It’s a great system. Not sure why you have a problem with them.

    Heavy? C’mon. They’re lighter and faster than Nice Ride, that’s for sure.

    If anything, the only downside of Lime is that they weren’t in Minneapolis, so I couldn’t take the bikes across the river. At least NR has stations near the river, so you could park your NR bike, walk across the Lake or 46th bridge, and get on a Lime on the other side.

    Sounds like an opportunity for NR to expand their new so-called “dockless” system to St. Paul, which they hadn’t been doing because LimeBike was there. Well, I guess it is technically dockless, but it’s not hub-less, which is the point of dockless systems.

  3. Steve S

    Not where I was. I think I came upon it early and the bikes were spaced apart. I was making a turn around Summit. There was a gap and the car in front of me tried to go, but the bikes kept going hence the hard stop. I tried to make a good faith effort at explaining my particular situation.

    Accusing me of not paying attention is just disrespectful and unless you were right there you have no business (according to this site’s rules) telling me that I wasn’t paying attention. I try to be respectful of other people’s opinions and perceptions. Please do the same.

    1. Monte Castleman

      Funeral processions and the like are allowed to run red lights because they have a police escort to make it safe to do so. Was there a police escort helping to control cross traffic at this intersection?

      1. Steve S

        I didn’t see anything at all until a bicyclist stopped by to stand in front of traffic. When I found out what it was, I thought the idea was a nice tribute. Execution, from my limited experience, could have been a lot better.

      2. Jake MohanJake

        From what I understood as a participant—and maybe the organizers of the ride could correct me on this— the police refused to provide an escort unless the organizers paid for it.

  4. Andrew Evans

    Usually, at least with motorcycle rides, a few bikes will stop at each intersection and stop traffic as everyone passes. That’s easier as a driver to see, and understand, than what could be the tail end of the group, or a gap in a group that all of a sudden runs a red light.

    To some other comments, streets are public spaces, and having a organized group ride with some kind of city blessing is completely fine. However in this case not everyone using the streets knew about the ride and it turned into a potentially dangerous situation, or at least one that could have been avoided if a few riders peeled off and blocked the intersection from the start.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      In general, people were peeling of to block traffic. All of the honking I heard was frustration at having to wait, not a surprise reaction, and I didn’t see anything dangerous.

      1. Andrew Evans

        Yes in general, but we have another person who had an experience that wasn’t part of the “in general” and they also have to be validated. If it’s true, and they were only approached later, then it could have been a potentially dangerous situation. However, thanks for the comment that mostly what you witnessed was going smoothly.

        1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

          Maybe. Or maybe we have another person whose claim that they had to “slam on their breaks” (paraphrase) behind someone else is not credible in the context for people who, unlike you, were not there.

          Tom was there. James was there. Bill was there. The mayor was there. I know because I was there and saw all of them.

      2. James Kohls

        The intersection, with all the honking, had 6 ride marshals blocking traffic. As Adam mentioned, the honking was due to having to wait, not because bikes rode out through a red light that cars were actively crossing. We had a police escort, as well. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to make it until the second half of the ride. Here’s the intersection, just before Mayor Carter went to talk to the honking motorist.

          1. James Kohls

            Thanks, Bill. Was looking for that article. Good read.

            My section was the first to travel through the intersection when the light first turned red. The cars were already stopped. The marshals already in place. The horns started 25 seconds after the light changed. 25 seconds before things started getting hostile.

        1. Steve S

          I think that’s Hamline (I see Mount Zion in one photo) and I’m not in that intersection.

          I read Bill’s link and if I had read that before I posted, I wouldn’t have bothered with my post. Sorry to open old wounds.

          1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

            Steve, in all seriousness, thank you for this comment. It was an emotional deal for the people riding and I appreciate your understanding and especially so because you didn’t know what you were driving up to.

          2. James Kohls

            My apologies. My comment wasn’t directed at you, Steve. I always appreciate learning different perspectives. It was an emotional and frustrating day for many…not just the cyclists.

            1. Steve S

              Thanks, James and Adam. My original comment was insensitive and I shouldn’t have posted.

              I’ve learned a lot on this site about housing and highways that I can’t find elsewhere and I look forward to not sounding like a jerk in the future.

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