News

New rental bike services launch in MV

Up to 800 'smart bikes' available around the city

Starting Tuesday, hundreds of new "smart bikes" are being rolled out in Mountain View for anyone to rent out.

The new Mountain View bike services that started May 8 are being spearheaded by two private bicycle-sharing companies, San Mateo-based LimeBike and ofo, headquartered in Beijing. Last October, the City Council granted permission for both companies to distribute up to 400 bikes throughout the city.

For LimeBike, bicycles can be unlocked for $1 for a half hour, with a 15-cent surcharge for each additional minute. LimeBike is distributing electric bicycles along with regular bikes, throughout the city.

Ofo charges $1 per hour, and right now the company appears to offer only regular bikes.

The new program is part of a city pilot to bring back an improved version of the abandoned Bike Share program, which suffered from poor ridership and costly maintenance. That system attracted few customers because riders had to dock their bikes at a limited number of stations scattered throughout the city, and ended in late 2016.

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The new services offered by ofo and Limebike don't require docking stations, and the bikes can be left pretty much anywhere. The bikes are equipped with GPS-tracking devices, allowing riders to locate unused bikes.

City officials are urging anyone who rents out the new bicycles to park them so they don't obstruct the sidewalks for pedestrians. This has recently become a major problem in other Bay Area cities with electric scooter rentals. Rental bikes left on the sidewalk must be placed in the "furniture zone," the area closest to the curb where fire hydrants, trees and utility poles are normally placed. Certain areas near Castro Street and San Antonio Road also have designated parking areas which should be identifiable through the smartphone apps.

The city's new bike-share pilot is expected to last for one year.

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New rental bike services launch in MV

Up to 800 'smart bikes' available around the city

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, May 8, 2018, 2:54 pm

Starting Tuesday, hundreds of new "smart bikes" are being rolled out in Mountain View for anyone to rent out.

The new Mountain View bike services that started May 8 are being spearheaded by two private bicycle-sharing companies, San Mateo-based LimeBike and ofo, headquartered in Beijing. Last October, the City Council granted permission for both companies to distribute up to 400 bikes throughout the city.

For LimeBike, bicycles can be unlocked for $1 for a half hour, with a 15-cent surcharge for each additional minute. LimeBike is distributing electric bicycles along with regular bikes, throughout the city.

Ofo charges $1 per hour, and right now the company appears to offer only regular bikes.

The new program is part of a city pilot to bring back an improved version of the abandoned Bike Share program, which suffered from poor ridership and costly maintenance. That system attracted few customers because riders had to dock their bikes at a limited number of stations scattered throughout the city, and ended in late 2016.

The new services offered by ofo and Limebike don't require docking stations, and the bikes can be left pretty much anywhere. The bikes are equipped with GPS-tracking devices, allowing riders to locate unused bikes.

City officials are urging anyone who rents out the new bicycles to park them so they don't obstruct the sidewalks for pedestrians. This has recently become a major problem in other Bay Area cities with electric scooter rentals. Rental bikes left on the sidewalk must be placed in the "furniture zone," the area closest to the curb where fire hydrants, trees and utility poles are normally placed. Certain areas near Castro Street and San Antonio Road also have designated parking areas which should be identifiable through the smartphone apps.

The city's new bike-share pilot is expected to last for one year.

Comments

resident
Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm
resident, Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm
15 people like this

Can I use these bikes to ride to Palo Alto or Los Altos or Sunnyvale? A bike share program that only works within the city boundaries is kind of dumb. What if a user doesn't know where the city boundaries are? There is no line painted on the ground.


@resident
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm
@resident, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm
25 people like this

Yes, these might be a little advanced for everyone. Definitely not for all.


A Great First Step
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2018 at 9:32 pm
A Great First Step, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 8, 2018 at 9:32 pm
11 people like this

This is a great opportunity for Mountain View. Having quick, easy access to a nearby bike, and being able to ride it to whatever destination you want (and back!) is HUGE. Not having to own (and maintain!) your own bike, but being able to grab a quick, convenient ride is a huge advantage for the community.

I do hope people try it out and take advantage of it. Maybe it will lead the city to make the streets safer for cyclists, and encourage even more healthy convenience locally. We have beautiful weather and nearby places; let's take advantage of it to get a little extra physical activity, live a bit longer, and help the environment to boot.


Googler
Rengstorff Park
on May 9, 2018 at 11:12 am
Googler, Rengstorff Park
on May 9, 2018 at 11:12 am
67 people like this

"the bikes can be left pretty much anywhere"

Sounds like G-bikes.


RoxieK
Slater
on May 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm
RoxieK, Slater
on May 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm
46 people like this

More garbage to be found littering the sidewalks and creeks.


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm
18 people like this

This article is incorrect.

The rates for a standard limebike are $1 per half hour.
The rates for the e-bikes are $1 unlock fee and 15ยข/min.


Progress
Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2018 at 4:33 pm
Progress, Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2018 at 4:33 pm
23 people like this

At least our city council is not paying this company hundreds of thousands of dollars like it did with the previous bike share effort. So there's that it has going for it.


doesn't sound good
Rex Manor
on May 9, 2018 at 5:42 pm
doesn't sound good, Rex Manor
on May 9, 2018 at 5:42 pm
70 people like this

I think we already send enough money to China so the fact that ofo is based out of Beijing, I'll probably pass on those. I'm not to excited to see that they can be left anywhere. Also that these bikes may attract people who don't regularly ride bikes and there for will be riding on sidewalks. I hope I'm wrong tho but time will tell.


Vandlized bikes
Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2018 at 2:51 am
Vandlized bikes, Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2018 at 2:51 am
12 people like this

I'm interested to see how these bikes fare. I've seen Ofo and other similar bikes in cities in Europe, most of which are trashed beyond repair and become junk littering the streets.

They have a lock which goes through the back wheel. There is nothing to stop joyriders from trying to ride the bike with the lock engaged, which ends up tearing the spokes out of the wheel and destroying the bike. The only brand which is not prone to this is Mobike (also from China) which has chunky mag wheels that can't be damaged in this way.

It's a sad commentary on people that they will destroy property like this, but it is the reality. I am hopeful this won't happen in Mountain View, but I'm not holding my breath!


Funny
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2018 at 9:39 am
Funny, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2018 at 9:39 am
22 people like this

It's interesting how people here always find negatives to hope won't occur, but very infrequently do they say they hope positives will occur.
I personally think sometimes, but not all times, it's a poorly veiled attempt to hide the fact that they do indeed hope it fails.
I think if you're a big droopy negative nancy, you should own it as who you are and not hide your negative hopes.
We all loved Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh regardless of his general outlook on things.


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm
12 people like this

@funny

Unfortunately most of these concerns are based on actual problems that other cities have faced already after allowing the implementation of these share services. I have used Limebikes in San Diego and Seattle and found that are almost always very haphazardly parked and in need of repair. San Francisco resorted to impounding electric scooters because they posed a hazard to pedestrians. In China, where there are literally millions of ofo yellow bikes, people have resorted to throwing them in the rivers to allay congestion. I'm not against the concept, in fact I already rented a Limebike to go pick up a car when it would not have been practical to use my own bike or pay for an uber/lyft, I just jont seem myself using them very often if at all again. I just hope the residents and visitors to Mountain View have the respect for others and ride/park these bike appropriately. At least they are locked so we won't see the problems we face with google bikes.


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm
10 people like this

...and even better yet, at least we are not pissing away tax dollars in another government funded boondoggle trying to mandate people into riding bicycles...


Funny
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2018 at 4:56 pm
Funny, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2018 at 4:56 pm
4 people like this

Oh Greg, I know that, but I also know that if you Google "Bike share sucess stories" you'll come up with multiple links form many cities.

OF COURSE an Eeyore will only want to talk about the problems that have happened in other cities but not so quick to voice hope that it's a success like other places. That was my point and you exemplified it remarkably well in your first post.

Agreed though, good that private funds are driving it.
Now, let's look for that tail ;)


Me
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm
Me, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm
9 people like this

google "flat earth" and you will also find multiple links. This iteration looks a lot better than the previous trial, so we can hope for success.


Juan
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on May 11, 2018 at 9:56 pm
Juan, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on May 11, 2018 at 9:56 pm
5 people like this

Who exactly is going to pay to ride one of these? You probably couldn't pick a worse city in America to launch this product, we're already saturated with G-bikes (or are they called Alpha-bikes now?). Sounds like another scam Chinese company trying to raise venture capital, ask LeEco how that went.


AllYouCanEat
Monta Loma
on May 14, 2018 at 10:13 am
AllYouCanEat, Monta Loma
on May 14, 2018 at 10:13 am
13 people like this

While driving around I have already seen a bunch of these bikes thrown over fences, vandalized and abandoned on their sides in locations where it's hard to see them.

I also found three bikes neatly side by side at the post office at a handicap parking spot. If the handicap person was a passenger they would have not able to get out of the car due to the blockage of the bikes that were deposited there by the OFO distribution team. I mean, really?


OMV Resident
Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm
OMV Resident, Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm
12 people like this

I'm a big supporter of biking and walking and alternative transportation modes in general, but I also have concerns about how these new bike share bikes will affect our city. Like the poster directly above, I've already seen bikes parked right across the wheelchair ramp going from the sidewalk into a crosswalk (twice), completely blocking the sidewalk (once) and shoved into bushes in someone's front yard (once, presumably because it was blocking the sidewalk and someone shoved it out of the way). And the bikes have only been out there for 6 days.

Unless there's a way to immediately and accurately penalize users for parking incorrectly (or to force the vendors to quickly response to improperly parked bikes), I don't see this experiment ending well.


Common sense
Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm
Common sense, Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm
7 people like this

Me, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood (answering "Funny") on May 11: 'google "flat earth" and you will also find multiple links.'

Wait, isn't that the main use and point of Google? To conjure rhetoric for any little pet notion (no matter how crackpot, fatuous, or discredited), without even doing any work?

Earth flat, moon landings faked, 9/11 attacks an "inside job," doctors all wrong on importance of vaccinating children, gmo's all poisonous, utility "smart meters" somehow a threat to health (but other radio-freq. sources of 1000 times higher intensity aren't), etc.?

It'd certainly be a natural assumption, based on how people often argue today in online public forums.


Resonse to Funny
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm
Resonse to Funny, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm
5 people like this

Funny-perhaps you'd care to share with us your numerous references to the successful stories based on Google search. I can only find angst and anger in Google searches for "bike share success stories" in other cities that are not sponsored posts. Or, as I assume, you can share your connection to the bike share companies in the interest of public disclosure?


Funny
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 17, 2018 at 9:32 am
Funny, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 17, 2018 at 9:32 am
93 people like this

I'm skeptical about bike share in general, but that's likely because I'm not a regular cal-train commuter. I suppose if I was commuting to MV, I might take the train and then connect via a share bike. Cal Trains bike cars are full sometimes and i know people have been left on the platform with their bikes, waiting for the next train. Without a bike they could be (mostly) assured of getting on the train, and the share bike in MV would provide final leg transportation. I'm not sure how many fit this demographic, but best of luck to those trying it out. Any reduction in any amount of cars coming into MV is a win in my book. This may add another small piece to the increasing pie.

Also, to the other Eeyore, I found this story in 3 seconds doing what I explained: Web Link
Quote: "It has been a success from the start"

You should try the search again, but then again, some only see what they want to see, so it may not work for all. Or maybe it's selective "Googling" ;)
I would invite you to join our tail hunt, I'll bring an extra nail to hold it in place once we find it.

Disclaimer: I work for a tech company...a very, VERY old and boring tech company. I would not put my money into what I see is a very risky venture.


Juan
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on May 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm
Juan, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on May 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm
7 people like this

About 5 bikes were clumped up yesterday on the sidewalk of California St across from Target, completely blocking the path. What I haven't seen is one single bike being ridden by a paying customer, not one. They are literally dumping junk nobody wants on our sidewalks.


Abandonded Lime bike
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm
Abandonded Lime bike, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm
2 people like this

Where can we report abandoned Lime Bikes?
Can we drag it away?


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