Something new happened in Scottsdale, and already a snobby sliver of the population is complaining. The “something new” I’m talking about is the rise of Scottsdale bike share services. In the last few months, brightly colored bikes for rent via a smartphone app have sprung up around the city like mushrooms after a good rain.
People are using the hell out of Scottsdale bike share services – according to a KJZZ article, 3,600 LimeBike users had ridden more than 7,100 miles as of mid-December 2017 (you can also rent a yellow bike from Grid Bike Share, but that company uses traditional docking stations).
I imagine most users run errands. Some do quick commutes. Maybe a few would rather hit the bars via bike than by car. Some probably just ride for the pure fun of it because bikes are fun and make people have it. Just the other day, a trio of tweens cruising the bike lanes on LimeBikes cheered at me when I zipped passed them on my old Lemond Zurich. Every time I leave my house, I see people using and enjoying the various flavors of Scottsdale bike shares.
But wait! Not this guy. He HATES them, he does. Here are a few of his reasons:
The LimeBikes don’t have to be returned to a specific place (Of course, the writer didn’t sweat the details of figuring out which bikes are dockless and which aren’t). They sometimes get left on sidewalks or -gasp!- your property!
I’m glad he’s calling this out. It’s a known fact that unattended bicycles emit the radioactive isotope strontium-90, which has caused neighborhoods across the country to become uninhabitable wastelands. Oh, wait … that’s actually not true. I made it up.
But the truth is that your neighbors and their kids probably leave all sorts of stuff on your sidewalks and maybe even in your yard. People park their cars with their tires protruding inches into the sidewalk. In short, this was already happening before Scottsdale bike share companies … just with stuff that isn’t a garishly colored bike that someone is making money from. That actually seems to be the crux of the original writer’s problem. I can see a smidgen of a point there, but I’d spend my time going after for-profit prisons instead. Now THAT’S a huge public-private moneymaking misadventure, and it doesn’t take any cars off the streets.
The bikes damage lawns.
How, exactly? Will they make lawns stop growing? Hey, park a bunch on my lawn so I can talk my wife into xeriscaping! And provide some evidence – saying something is happening doesn’t make it true. And something happening doesn’t make it a problem until you can put numbers to it.
“And, if we didn’t design our landscaping to go with green, yellow or orange; that’s clearly lack of foresight.”
That’s an actual quote. They don’t match the landscaping! Seriously, I don’t think The Onion could conjure a quote this funny. This is the very essence of toxic NIMBYism. This guy is actually worried that the color of the bikes clash with the landscaping. This is why people invent words like “Snottsdale.” This. Is. Exactly. It.
And again, not all the bikes are dockless.
Maybe I just don’t care about this stuff because I live in a south Scottsdale neighborhood where people park on my street to go to their kickball leagues and whatnot … and here, we don’t mind interacting with people we don’t know and dealing with what things that are, at their absolute worst, minor inconveniences that are far outweighed by the benefits. In the case of bike shares, they’re a great, affordable way to reduce the use of cars. So get down with your bad self and leave it in front of my house if you need to. I promise someone else on the block will give it a spin at some point.
My advice: Calm down. Worry about the big stuff. Ride a bike once in awhile. And go after bigger problems than a Scottsdale bike share.