This summer, many eyes were cast on the West Coast as Santa Monica and San Francisco came to grips with the sudden popularity of dockless e-scooter sharing. The cities quickly banned the operators of the vehicles, fearing a free-for-all, and then subsequent allowed only a relative handful to return. The main point of contention between regulators and the venture backed firms that operate the scooters is their relationship with sidewalk and public space; municipal leaders are concerned about bikes and scooters strewn across the streets, potentially causing a public hazard and nuisance.
On the other side of the country, in New York, a remarkable pilot is taking place in the heart of the city’s Downtown. At the end of September, Oonee, in partnership with the Alliance for Downtown New York will introduce a micro-mobility pod that will provide secure, weather-protected, parking for bikes and scooters. The service will be housed in a smart, modular, free-standing pod, which can be assembled on-site in less than a day and easily removed or modified. This innovative design approach also allows the structure to be customized to specific shapes and sizes in order to meet the contours of various urban spaces.
Within the course of my daily conversations, I often get asked about the need to create parking infrastructure for privately owned bikes– the assumption being that cyclists have, or will, switch over to CitiBike, the city’s wildly popular bikeshare system.
Though I am a huge fan of the bikeshare movement, it’s worth remembering that traditional private bikes still account for the vast majority of cycling trips within the city, as well as a large segment of market growth over the years, a reality that isn’t set to change anytime soon. Cities would be best to design infrastructure for both bikeshare and personal bikes.
Back in 2016, I bet it all on urban secure bike parking–specifically the notion that this was the next “big” amenity for urban streetscapes. Lots of people thought I was crazy, some still do, but recent industry developments and trends have only increased my confidence. The company I founded, Oonee, has created the first modular, smart bike parking kiosk that can be scaled in cities. We envision a vast infrastructure network that offers secure bike parking, as well as other services and amenities.
Below is a quick look at some of the dominant trends in today’s market along with some basic commentary on why the planets are continuing to align for this opportunity, especially for sponsors and marketers.
Cycling is poised to become a dominant mode of urban transportation in the United States. Since 2000, most major American cities have seen triple digit percentage increases in cycling trips; here in New York, the nation’s largest metropolis, cycling daily trips are increasing 11.2% every year. Similar trends are unfolding in Boston, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Yet, as cities invest in better roadway infrastructure and bikeshare, secure parking option have largely been ignored, leaving a major pain-point in the urban cycling experience. Surveys have shown that about 50% of current cyclists have experienced bike theft, while large numbers of commuters suggest that the lack of secure parking infrastructure is a key deterrent to choosing bicycles over other modes of transportation.
Yesterday, a tragic accident in Manhattan claimed the life of a cyclist. Dan Hanegby, a 36 year old from Brooklyn, is the Citibike’s first fatality in its four years of operation.
The New York Times provides a summary of the accident below:
The New York Post is reporting that up to five dockless bikeshare operators are slated to begin operations here in New York over the coming weeks and months. The companies, which include Bluegogo and Spin, two companies that recently launched in the Bay Area with very limited success, are targeting portions of the region that are uncovered Citibike.
The tone of the Post’s coverage comes close to encapsulating the level of trepidation and concern that civic leaders have when it comes to these services:
Houston is poised for a major investment in bicycle transportation.
Last week the city’s lawmakers approved a plan to add more than 1,200 miles of bicycle lanes and trails to the nation’s fourth largest city. Though the $300 million program has yet to receive funding, the city council’s approval is a critical step. Possible funding sources include private donations, voter approved bonds, along with incorporation into existing (and funded) capital projects.