Bore me to death why don’t you! That is not so much directed to you, blog reader (though many of your comments are rather sleepy) than it is to anyone who has written about dockless bike share (and you know who you are). What is it about so-called “disruptive technologies” that makes the writing about them so boring? They’re not such interesting subjects that they can be simply stated and we will all faint. They’re not alien invasions. Even if they were, the media would still have to work—just watch Orson Welles go!
Let me amend this, um, situation, with something dramatic to say about dickless bike share. It will be disruptive, in a positive way, when lovers of cities (meaning haters of cars) start picking up bikes from the footpath and putting them in the middle of the road, where they are a nuisance to drivers. Come back and finish reading this after you have found the nearest ofo bike to your house and taken it out of the way of cyclists and pedestrians, and put it in the way of car drivers.
How did that feel? Good, I hope. You have just redeemed dockless bike share!
Long term, if it were scaled (meaning, if everyone did it), dickless bike share is an irredeemable concept. The public realm, around gathering places, could not cope if everyone went there by ofo. The concept is barely workable in Beijing where 90% of trips are by car or public transport. Can you imagine Dam Square if all the bike trips into Amsterdam each day (and in that city cycling represents 68% of the total mode share) were by cyclists absolved from the consequences of parking without any care? The piles of dumped bikes would be 7 times higher than in Beijing! In the Velotopia of my dreams, with its 90% bike modal share, privately owned and neatly put away share bikes are key.
If we can’t use it in the future, what can we do with dockless bike sharing right now? How can we see it as an interim step toward the world that we dream of? It is nice to believe that it is getting people out of their cars and onto bikes, and to some extent that is true. Unfortunately, that benefit is being negated by the problem of dickless share bikes blocking foot paths and bike paths. We want them to interrupt drivers, not us!
And that is why, when each of us sees one of those $30 pieces of poop with wrecked brakes parked on the footpath or bike path, we shall pick it up and carry it to the middle of the carriageway.
When their parts are picked clean and the clean frames are rusty they shall be road blocks and not under foot though they be madness they shall be sane though they sink in our waterways they shall rise again and death shall have no dominion And death shall have no dominion!
I leave you with the rousing original version that it may fill your heart with the courage you need to go now and fulfil your civic duty.