Rival bike rental companies Reddy Go and oBike have launched in Sydney and Melbourne this Winter, with their red and yellow bikes suddenly materialising across the city centres and inner suburbs, like an alien invasion from a Dr Who episode.
The bikes – which are bookable by scanning a QR code with the Reddy Go or oBike Android mobile apps – are polarising residents because they don’t have dedicated dock homes where they get parked. iPhone apps are also available for each service.
Ride fees are the same for both companies at $1.99/30 minutes. They also both have deposit/membership fees.
Some claim that this is more flexible and allows bikes to be ridden between 2 points that aren’t well served by public transport.
However other people view the bikes as litter which clutters narrow footpaths and takes up already limited space in public bike racks.
Both brands of rental bikes come with helmets, however many helmets have been stolen and some prospective customers are not keen to share helmets because of hygiene reasons, e.g. previous users may have had head lice or sweated a lot.
Of course it doesn’t help that no matter where you go, a certain proportion of the population are either thoughtless so they do things like park bikes in front of doorways or outright jerks so they throw bikes into rivers or park them in remote areas on purpose so they are difficult to retrieve.
The Age reports today that:
Several pictures emerged on Friday of the infamous yellow bikes wrapped in City of Melbourne tape declaring them “illegally dumped rubbish under investigation”.
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle also told The Age that he had talked with oBike and noted:
… there was real, I would say, anger amongst councillors that they haven’t tried to do the right thing.
The bike rental companies launched in Sydney after Melbourne. So far the City of Sydney is remaining neutral with their Sydney Cycleways site stating:
Bike share schemes have a key role to play in our transport future.
Dockless bike share is a new business model that allows people to access a fleet of bikes through a smartphone app. Bikes can be used for return or 1-way trips and don’t have to be returned to a docking station.
Customer safety and conduct – Operators should inform their customers about correct bike parking and responsible riding.
All operators and their customers must obey NSW road rules and consider the safety and comfort of other people on the road and footpaths.
So far, reports from people who have tried Obike and Reddy Go are that they’re useful as long as you aren’t planning on cycling up any hills and you fit on the bike. Tall people like myself (190cm) probably wouldn’t bother trying to use these bikes as they’re built for an average height person.
Have you tried either bike rental service? Let us know in the comments whether you think their bikes, apps, and billing systems are reliable and good quality.
There is one dumped in Sydney Park, near my place the local bike rack is full of them so people with their own bikes can’t securely park their bike.
I can’t see this lasting with a potential public backlash to the way they leave their bikes all over the place.
They are a bit of a menace in Melbs. On the eastern edge of the CBD where I live there are puddles of them that have obviously *not* been left there by commuters, just placed there optimistically by the company. But the main issue is that bike schemes like this won’t take off in Australia as they have in other countries until bike helmets become optional again (as they are in Amsterdam etc.)