Vancouver bike share: Bixi bikes a first look

June 27, 2012 142 Comments »
Vancouver bike share: Bixi bikes a first look
Montreal woman photographs a Bixi bike on a Vancouver street

Bike share is coming to Vancouver, and we must make it work

The international Velo-City conference is underway in Vancouver as of Tuesday morning and I arrived in time to hear an inspired talk by urban cycling advocate Gil Penalosa. Judging by the Twitter activity throughout the morning, Penalosa's message excited the full house in attendance at the Wall Centre. While Penalosa's full presentation — available here — is fast-paced and rich with detail, it was nicely summed up by an Australian delegate named Stephen Yarwood.

Given the way the Vision council have married themselves to the cycling issue, it was perhaps predictable that the site of the Velo-City conference felt like an offsite City Hall. Mayor Gregor hung around to do interviews while his chief of staff parked himself in front of the venue most of the morning. Even Penny Ballem paced around the site. The always affable Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver's Director of Transportation listened intently to Penalosa's speech, which he quipped might put him out of a job. Penalosa's message was to be bold, to be fearless in the face of public opposition, and to make cities as safe as possible for cycling with many miles worth of separated bike lanes. Vancouver, said Penalosa, has not been nearly bold enough when compared to cities like Chicago.

The real star of the show that morning, however, were the over 600 Bixi bikes shipped in for the conference and parked in front of the Wall Centre convention facility. Bixi is the Montreal-based bike share manufacturer that will be providing the two-wheeled transport for Vancouver's bike share program. The operator for the Vancouver bike share will be the Alta company based out of Portland, Oregon.

I had the pleasure of having my first bike share experience, after I signed an insurance waiver and gave conference organizers a stamp of my credit card. To get access to a bike I simply inserted the card provided by Velo-City, waited a few seconds for the light to turn from red to green, and pulled the bike out while slightly lifting the rear of the bike from the seat. With my complementary Lazer bike helmet strapped on I took a short ride downtown.

The Bixi bikes are beautiful machines. They are definitely more sturdy than your typical hybrid or road bike, and sport wide tires with a street-friendly tread. The seat is wide and comfy, something many casual riders prefer.

seat postThe seat post – which I got a blurry image of – is easily adjustable, and thankfully you're not able to easily slide the seat and post right off the bike. That would be a big target of theft otherwise.

My demo bike was a three-speed but the bikes on order for Vancouver's bike share will be a seven-speed bike to better manage our city's hilly terrain. The gear changer is located in the right half of the handlebar, and the left side has a small bell you can ring with your thumb when needed. There is a small amount of space over the handlebars to locate a small basket if necessary.

The brakes are built into the wheel hubs, and while you're riding enough power is generated to run safety lights embedded into the frame of the bike, improving your visibility in traffic. Overall it's a solid and comfortable ride, but the slightly heavy frame had my quadriceps burning up a few hills. For all my Bixi bike images see this Flickr set.

I stopped down at Robson Square – which was quiet during the mid-morning – to take a few photographs of the bike. While I was there a young woman now living in Vancouver but formerly in Montreal smiled and proceeded to pull out her iPhone as though to take a picture. The Bixi bike reminded her of home, and she described her excitement at the prospect of a bike share system coming to Vancouver.

"But," she added, "I think it will struggle because of BC's rules around using helmets." I asked her what she thought we should do here, and she provided what I thought was an interesting response.

"I used to ride my bike without a helmet. I would be always looking over my shoulder because I was worried about getting a ticket. Eventually I just got into the habit of wearing a helmet. Today, I just wouldn't ride without one because I don't really feel safe otherwise."

And with that thought she asked if she could take a picture of the bike in order to send it to some loved ones back in Montreal.

This short conversation in a way seemed to sum up my own mixed feelings about the helmet debate. On the one hand I want "Big Mother" out of my life. Government need not always set the rules to dictate our behaviour. On the other hand, helmets save lives and reduce the burden that brain injuries have upon our publicly funded health care system. This Toronto Sun editorial makes a pretty good pro-helmet argument.

But if you create a cycling culture that promotes safety – and helmet use – you needn't rely upon the heavy hand of the law. People will eventually do as this young woman described and take care of her own safety because they've faced up to the risks. Big Mother can butt out and focus on pro-helmet education instead.

Vancouver is setting forth to spend millions to expand our public transportation system to include bikes. As one of the last major metropolitan areas to do this, there is no question in my mind it's time to do this. I foresee the bike share system negatively impacting private bike rental companies that employ dozens of people, and this is a downside I'm wrestling with. But I expect that when thousands of these bikes are on the streets it will be a system citizens and tourists alike will quickly embrace.

If a bike share system in Vancouver should fail, it will be costly. For that reason we should hope that it's a huge success.

Before heading back to the Wall Centre I pedaled around a few more blocks. A courier coming toward me in the Hornby bike lane called to me, "it's Bilderberg for bikes!" It was a droll comment that made a good point. The delegate fees for Velo-City are around $1,400 per person, making it an exclusive affair. You could even buy a decent bike for that amount. Clearly more work is needed to get the active transportation message out to the masses.

One affordable way to get some of the highlights from Velo-City 2012 is to follow them on Twitter:

and search the hashtag #velocity2012.

- post by Mike



142 Comments

  1. Chris June 27, 2012 at 6:32 am -

    It is true that helmets save lives and reduce the burden that brain injuries have upon our publicly funded health care system. However, helmet LAWS have the opposite effect. As study after study has shown, repealing an adult helmet law would actually SAVE money and lives, by getting more people on their bicycles, and making streets safer with numbers: http://t.co/93k47ooe, http://t.co/3snFbnjL, http://t.co/cIZtBHsF.

  2. Karla Sofen June 27, 2012 at 8:14 am -

    I used some kind of pick up anywhere and drop off anywhere bicycle in Montreal last year and the system worked pretty well. Is this the same deal?

    Is the government footing the bills in Montreal for the bikes as they are going to do in Vancouver? If there is demand, why wouldn’t a private company do this for profit?

    Usually supply follows demand, not the other way around. You don’t create a supply and hope there will be a demand.

    • Mike Klassen
      Mike Klassen June 27, 2012 at 9:33 am -

      I think the simple answer is that these are not project that are intended to be financially profitable, such as other public infrastructure. The trick is to get a system that produces other economic benefits, and not become a sinkhole for cash. Let’s face it, it rains here a lot. But there is challenging weather in other bike share cities, so Vancouver should be no different.

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 9:41 am -

      Karla you must not have looked at my links from the helmet thread. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2011/06/20/bixi-report-mtl.html These bike share programs are a financial black hole almost everywhere they have been tried no matter if they have helmet laws or not.I would have thought the bike lobby would be worried about cash being redirected from infrastructure for cyclists to a failed private business model.And Im not against bike share as long as it supports itself.

      • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 9:53 am -

        @gman is right that the economics around bike share programs are murky at best and we need to shine a light on them.

        I could be convinced that Bike Share is a public good and worth subsidizing. I could also be convinced that it is an investment that will be cashflow positive for the city, but in that case should it be a business?

        In either case, I would like to understand what I am supporting and what is being committed.

        • Karla Sofen June 27, 2012 at 10:45 am -

          Another sink hole for our tax money eh? What happened to cities paying for city stuff? This is yet another nanny state thing? Our fearless leaders have a lot of hubris. Can Libertarianism ever catch on in Canada? Can there ever be small government? Oh, I forgot. We live in a social democracy and I can’t dare ask or propose we change anything.

          • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm -

            I prefer to live in a society that maks reasonable investments in public goods. I include education, healthcare, arts, scientfific R&D, public spaces and basic transportation and communications infrastructure in this. So there are two separate arguments we can have. (i) What is a reasonable level of investment in public goods? (ii) Is Bike Share a reasonable public good? The societies closest to Liberterian ideals (Texas and Hong Kong come to mind) are not places I would choose to live.

  3. Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 9:48 am -

    A couple of thougts on the actual bikes, which I have used extensively in Montreal and a few times in Ottawa and Boston. They are a great design and well built, as Mike noted. Two questions for Vancouver though.

    1. Will the gearing work for Vancouver? Maybe but there should be some usability testing.

    2. Will the size work for smaller people. My wife, who is Asian and about average height found the bike a bit too big.

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 10:04 am -

      Steven one of the big costs they have is the crews on trucks they require to reposition the bikes.People typically will ride the bikes from a higher elevation down the hill if it works for them but will take transit back up the hill on the way home therefore they have to reposition the bikes by truck back to the top of the hill.

      • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 11:21 am -

        You have any evidence for this? It is not what I have observed in Montreal, where there really is a gradient. And what gradient are you thinking of in Vancouver? I doubt many people will us these to cycle up to the British Properties, or even out to UBC. Cambie is not much of a hill.

        • gman June 27, 2012 at 11:53 am -

          Steven you should know by now that I dont make things up.From this article…….”There’s a significant problem with redistributing bikes, mainly in the peak direction at the peak hours, and outside of downtown in off-peak hours,” he says. He also points out that in hilly cities, there can be a glut of bikes in lower-lying areas but scarcity at the tops of hills, where people are less likely to ride. Optimizing this operations aspect may be key to improving profitability. Josh Moskowitz, project manager at the D.C. Department of Transportation, says a majority of Capital Bikeshare’s operations and maintenance costs go toward these rebalancing operations.”……..Read the full article here…… http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/04/17/bike-sharing-systems-arent-trying-to-peddle-for-profit Nice try though Steven.

          • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm -

            Ancedotal, I would prefer to see real numbers on operating costs in different cities. Nice try though.

          • gman June 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm -

            No your not Steven,if you were interested to see the numbers you could have looked them up yourself.But you prefer to throw up a comment trying to cast doubt on something that is common knowledge.I will tell you Steven that they aren’t too willing to make these numbers public as they try to sell their pyramid scheme to other unsuspecting cities.I am curious to see the numbers you find to debunk what I said.

          • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm -

            No gman it is not common knowledge, and few of the things that are said to be common knowledge are either common or knowledge. That is why I want to see numbers and numbers from a number of different cities. And I have looked, and you are right they are hard to find and they are not as transparent as they should be. Are you claiming that more than 50% of operations and maintenance costs are for rebalancing? This is what your quote claims. “a majority of Capital Bikeshare’s operations and maintenance costs go toward these rebalancing operations.” It will be interesting to see what Vancouver budgets for this, if we get to see a detailed budget.

          • gman June 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm -

            Well Steven it is common knowledge to anyone who has looked into these bike share projects and you being such an advocate for cycling I would have thought you would have at least some clue about it.But as usual Steven you’ve got nothing or if you do it doesn’t support your argument and you wont share it with us.At least I present some backup to the things I share here and Im open minded to any facts provided by anyone that may help in my understanding of the subject.So far though I havent seen anything that would prove that bike share is anything else but a money pit.

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 10:10 am -

      Steven as far as the financials go they seem to be having a problem getting them together,makes one wonder why. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Bixi+financial+statements+delayed/6823630/story.html

      • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 11:12 am -

        Yes, I have followed this closely. Most of the problems can be traced to the Montreal and Quebec governments, which are not renowned for transparent accounting. There is also an issue with mixing public and private sector funds. PPPs are often problematic as Jane Jacobs pointed out in Dark Age Ahead.

        • Max June 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm -

          @Steven Forth:

          Good Lord – you are not trying to hint that Vision Vancouver is ‘open and transparent’ when it comes to financial costs or well….anything else, are you???

          The word that come quickly to my mind: ‘mismanagement’.

          • boohoo June 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm -

            Again max, you wildly assume he’s speaking of something when there’s no reason to assume that…you’re amazing in your ability to leap from a-q without the rest of the alphabet.

          • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm -

            No Max, I am saying that as far as I can see the accounting for bike sharing programs in other cities have not been transparent. Although I hope Vancouver will be different I do not really expect them to be. Governments in general are not very transparent and Vision is no exception. Here is an idea we might agree on, if any piece of information would be required to be released under a freedom of information request it should automatically be posted to the web in a searchable format.

  4. Glissando Remmy June 27, 2012 at 10:22 am -

    Thought of The Day

    “I’m fed up with the news about the… Discovery of Bikes!”

    VeloCity… VeloCiraptor… VeloVision… VeloGregor…

    Thanks Mike for writing about this. If I’m honest, I had a full post running through my mind in the past few days, but I just couldn’t bring myself in front of a typing device without getting nauseated.

    There is no accident that the close relationship between Vision Solomon – Joel Robertson – Gregor Vancouver triplets is a very “Tides” one.
    Bikes and bike related propaganda is their only Bike & Pony show, and I have news for you!
    It’s a very expensive, a proven venture failure, but… a very lucrative proposition for the promoters.
    Hey, after all, it’s only public money at play!

    I know, I know, people would say “Common, it’s just bikes! It’s good for you, for the environment… blah, blah, blah… ”
    Let me rephrase that for you:
    “It’s big money! Mucho dineros!”
    Plus, this is an excellent mass control “tool” to paraphrase the latest shtick coming from the Mayor’s office… mind gymnastics.
    Think of this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nkt2g3SPWk&feature=related

    … only with bikes:

    Than there’s the hypocrisy.
    Planners, city staff, politicians, financiers, hundreds of delegates from 40 countries, from all over the world cam to the Edge of The North America by jumbo jets, spewing thousands of high octane gasoline fumes into the air, coming here to talk us into adopting the newest form of transportation… “biking”, LOL, and teach us how to reduce our Carbon Footprint… what ever that shtick is, by keeping the car gas emissions low, LOL!
    Ironic, eh?

    VeloCityCon is in town… and naah, “Con” doesn’t stand as Short for “Conference”. Naah, this was a Long “Con” from the start!

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 10:36 am -

      GR the best part of this article for me was A courier coming toward me in the Hornby bike lane called to me, “it’s Bilderberg for bikes!” aint it the truth.

    • Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm -

      Wow GR:

      It’s almost like you weren’t there, and haven’t even looked at the program for the conference. While there is certainly some discussion of emissions at the conference, much of the conversation is centering on issues of convenience for urban dwellers, land use, economics, and health outcomes. Of particular interest is the transportation cost and land use crunch we are facing and the huge role cycling can play in addressing both problems on a planet with billions more people aboard. Suffice to say not everybody can drive in that world. Of course there are trade-offs, and very few options for people to move around the world in a timely fashion, so there are compromises we all make in life. The perfect is the enemy of the good, and consistency is the hobgoblin of you-know-what.

      :-)

      cheers,
      CK

      • Terry M June 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm -

        Chris, I think GR mentioned not long ago in a CC post that the future is in trying to get an. Electric vehicle, that could do the same as today’s vehicles … Less pollution! Isn’t this the ultimate goal?
        While you can keep the biking, the movement of people is going tone dependent onublic transit and cars like it or not. We are not going back to the 1900s horse and carriage … You are!

        • Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm -

          Sorry, but that’s a pipe dream. Not only will electric cars fail utterly to deal with the amount of space required for the road space and storage requirements of personal automobiles, their emissions savings are also over-estimated. The future of effective transportation (for cities, where most of us will be living) will largely depend on public transit for distance travel with walking and cycling taking care of what’s referred to as the ‘last mile’ issue, namely getting people to and from the transportation hubs where public transit is accessed. People will take advantage of car shares where appropriate, and no doubt motoring enthusiasts will continue to buy and use cars for recreational purposes, but the automobile paradigm as a transportation solution can’t work in the future, even if the only considerations are the space required for them to move effectively and the amount of materials required to outfit billions and billions of people with a personal automobile.

          The real solution to transportation is small, fuel efficient vehicles when and where appropriate, with our primary reliance being on good public transit and active transportation. I would suggest e-bikes and e-scooters do offer significant advantages if you want to know which e-vehicles are going to help solve transportation issues, as they make cycling faster and less work for those who have greater distances to travel, or loads to carry. But the Automobile Age is coming to a close, mostly because we decided to make too much of a good thing. A sentiment which I’m sure will elicit howls of derision from the more car-fixated in the crowd, but you don’t have to take too many steps back from the situation to see how the big picture can’t accommodate automobile dependence in a mostly urbanized world with double or even triple our current population.

          • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 8:34 am -

            It would be interesting to apply Scenario Thinking to this question. On one axis we could contrast individual eVehicles vs. Walk/Cycle/Transit. Choice of the other axes will be interesting. Perhaps Housing Affordability or something on Economic Structure.

            I suspect we will see a mix of both models in most cities with one or the other tending to dominate.

            I am interested in working with a group of people a scenario thinking project to investigate possible futures for Vancouver. http://scenariothinking.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

            Note to Chris – my read of the demograhic data suggests that global population will peak at 8-10 billion and then trend down. Canada will use immigration to maintain population growth for the next 30-50 years and then see population trend down. Depending on what happens with energy generation and costs, we will see urbanization in Canada peak at 50-60% of the population.

  5. Betty June 27, 2012 at 10:29 am -

    Thank you Monsieur Remmy for your comments regarding “Discovery of Bikes”. I’ve been frothing at the mouth for the past week reading all the comments on “bikes”.

    You summed up my thoughts very eloquently!

    Much appreicated!

  6. Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 11:18 am -

    Get used to it, bikes are fun, healthy, an alternative to cars for many people in many cases (including 4 of 6 of my immediate family), I find they make for a more varied and enjoyable city scape… Just because you prefer to chug round in a couple of tons of steel and plastic don’t assume we all do or that we are happy having you soak up so much of the city surface and infrastructure spending. And the cities around the world that are winning the global competition for talent are all investing heavilly in bike infrastructure. In my own company, everyone under the age of 50 cycle commutes or walks, as does 1 who is over 50 (you can guess who). You want to compete in global talent markets? You better invest in bike infrastructure.

  7. Andrew June 27, 2012 at 11:24 am -

    I can’t wait to see the carnage on Robson with bikeshare bikes trying to navigate either down sidewalks (wrong!) because the road is always busy with parked cars and traffic (right!) and whatnot.

    Maybe this will spurn new ideas to have separated bikes lanes on Robson too! (tongue firmly planted…)

    Why is this a city initiative and not a private initiative? Don’t we have a fiscal deficit? Oh I know…the supplier knows it’s a money loser and public sector clients remove all risk for their business to survive…right…

    perpetuating the smart government oxymoron

  8. City Observer June 27, 2012 at 11:47 am -

    Michael, access to Bixi bikes during my stay in Montréal last summer made all the difference to my enjoyment of the City. Through Bixi bikes, the facility that was provided to travel all across Montréal by bike — along bike lanes, but not necessarily the separated bike lanes we have along Hornby or Dunsmuir, in Vancouver — from the central business district to my residence at McGill University, to petit-dejeuner at Le Place Milton, rides through old Montréal and along the harbour area of the city, through to daily excursions along Rue Saint-Denis (think Kitsilano’s West 4th Avenue), the ability to cover much ground and enjoy the necessary ‘exercise’ entailed in the peddling adventure proved daily to be a much-looked-forward-to delight. Here’s a bit of what was written on my blog about the business model of the Bixi bike system …

    Bixi is a public bicycle sharing system available in Montréal’s central core. Users rent a bike employing a ‘subscriber key’ obtained from a 24-hour a day touchscreen-operated pay station (employing a credit card): $5 for one day, $12 for three days, $28 per month or $78 annually. A ‘no extra charge time period’ covers the first 30 minutes on every individual trip. An unlimited number of such included trips are covered per subscription period. A trip that lasts longer than the ‘no-charge time period’ incurs additional charges, on an increasing price scale: $1.50 for an extra 30 minutes, $3 for 60-90 minutes, and $6 each subsequent 30-minute period (the increasing price scale is intended to keep the bikes in circulation). Given that there are 400+ stations, it doesn’t prove too much of an inconvenience to park your bike at a station, and after two minutes, recharge use of the bike for another 30-minute period at no extra charge.

    How Vancouver is going to get around the requirement that riders where helmets (I always where a helmet when riding my bike across Vancouver, but no helmet was required in Montréal) is a conundrum that will likely prove very difficult to resolve.

    Still, I’m willing to bet a Bixi bike system in Vancouver will increase bike ridership exponentially (which oughta gladden the hearts of Vision Vancouver councillors, and our City’s very effective bike lobby), add to the enjoyment we already experience in our daily life by providing ‘on the fly’ access to an alternative mode of transportation, and make for a healthier (and, perhaps, happier) population overall.

    • Richard Unger June 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm -

      Dear City Observer, Steven Forth, vancouverbrian, others…

      We are all pumped up by the fact that you, as… tourists enjoyed your Montreal BIXI experience!
      Then, you all left, and they, the Montrealers are paying for your enjoyment. Some say the program would have been bankrupt by now, if it wasn’t for the continuous bailing out of the Government.
      So great!

      Don’t do this to Vancouver!
      There are so many other ways to get health benefits from a public program accessible by all , not only by a select few who are capable to bike!
      This is a total farce as this is a redistribution of public money in the favor of a minority segment of the population. While some will be biking throughout the West End/ downtown Kits the rest of the city will suffer from the lack of funds.
      It already does!

      It pains me to see city staff (like Jerry Dobrovolny who’s pushing this for his own benefit btw) or former staff like the Director of Planing Brent Toderean in his lookout for a venue (like this VeloCity lunacy) where he can be the center of attention!
      Quite distressing.

      Sincerely,

      Dr. Richard Unger MD (Ret)

      • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm -

        Richard Unger,

        I have not said I support a bike share program in Vancouver. You are quite right that these programs require ongoing investment. I think this investment may be justified as a public good, but I have not seen the studies that show this (they may exist but I haven’t seen them). I wonder where you get to “the select few that are capable of biking” though. I suppose there are many more people capable of walking, and that one could make an argument that we should shut cars out of downtown and increase transit to encourag walking, but I am pretty sure that is not what you have in mind. What do you have in mind as healthy transit options?

        • Richard Unger June 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm -

          “What do you have in mind as healthy transit options?”
          Yes Steven, with this much money (and there is going to be a big pile of wasted money) you could spread that wealth all over the city… use it for public transit, parks, community centers, day care centers, aquatic centers… and if you want to push biking do it in EVERY COMMUNITY on a small grid area, that’s what I’m saying, I am no accountant but there are ways!
          All the best
          Richard

          • Steven Forth June 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm -

            I think it is a debate the city should have. It should not be a pro/anti bike debate (I am rather pro bike). But I agree there are many other way money could be used and I think your point about bike share being for a ‘small grid area’ is a very strong one. In order to have the debate I would like to see the business plan for the bike share program (has anyone seen one?).

            There are benefits to all of Vancouver from a bike share program. Increasing bike traffic and reducing car traffic downtown has many health benefits that help all of us. It may also reduce need for other investments. There are also benefits in terms of Vancouver’s image that help us in terms of tourism and attracting talent. But as you point out there are real costs to this program as well. And there are other places the money could be invested.

      • Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm -

        “not only by a select few who are capable to bike!”

        People with working limbs, eyes, and a credit card? Fairly large cohort last I checked.

  9. vancouverbrian June 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm -

    The reason public bike share is a public initiative is because this has a (huge) public and social benefit.

    The reason you’re hearing so much about cycling is because we now have overwhelming evidence that increased cycling and walking in cities has countless benefits.

    This is not a Vision Vancouver driven conspiracy. Cities all over the world are embracing cycling because the few who did it first have proven that it works.

    Those who are skeptical, I undstand. It seems that Vancouver is too hilly or too rainy. But the truth is, this isn’t about convincing everyone to cycling all the time. This is about making those who would like to cycle when they can most able to do so. And that is really important.

    Case in point…
    The USA Office of Highway Policy Information: a 1.2% reduction in miles driven by motor vehicles resulted in a 30% reduction in traffic congestion.

    That’s amazing! Really think about what that means.

  10. boohoo June 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm -

    gman,

    The problem with your assertion that it’s a money pit is that you’re looking at only one part of the problem. Do the financials of the bike sharing not add up in the end–ok, let’s pretend they do. But what about all the ancillary benefits, how do you quantify them? Lots of public things operate at a loss if you look solely at the line items in the budget, but that’s because the benefits outweigh that financial loss when you look at the big picture.

    Take for example Parks–the City buys them, improves them, operates them, etc… but they don’t produce anything in a budget. There’s no profit in buying and constructing parks. So why do we do it?

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm -

      Boo youre right we do operate parks and such but they are operated by the city and owned by the city.This is something very different,is it a P3 or a straight subsidy I dont think we know.We woudnt give a contract to a private company to build a bridge without a detailed bid and a proven track record.I guess whats bugging me is that we have seen no numbers and the ones I have found are not easy to find and they are appalling. This has been anything but an open presentation and more like a propaganda party.Another thing that I have found to be recurring is that in the early stages of one of these operations the ridership surges and are always touted as a great success in press releases and then the numbers tend to plummet after the novelty wears off. I like the idea but not the execution.

  11. Brilliant June 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm -

    Here’s a crazy idea: If you want to ride a bike buy one. If you can’t afford new go to the police auction. Which leads into the fact BIXI is a swell way to tranfer my tax dollars to crackheads who will ride shiny bikes to their next B&E then sell them fir scrap.

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm -

      Brilliant I thought you might enjoy this little video done to the tune of Highway to Hell..LOL http://www.archos.kewego.com/video/iLyROoaftAe0.html

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm -

      And this from treehugger back in 09,I dont know if they have been able to fix it or if its ongoing. http://www.archos.kewego.com/video/iLyROoaftAe0.html
      Sh@t happens.

    • Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm -

      One needs a valid credit card to use the system, which can be traced. Even assuming a stolen card… trying to sell a bike which really can’t be parted out, and is so distinctive that selling it whole on Craigslist… seems like a non-starter.

    • Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm -

      If you want to drive somewhere, buy a car. No car rental, no car co-op, no taxi. If you want to fly somewhere, buy a plane. And so on.

      • Everyman June 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm -

        Chris, as far as I know the city does not subsidize car co-ops, taxis or airlines, so it is not really an apt comparison.

        • Chris Keam June 28, 2012 at 8:56 am -

          I would argue that Car2Go/Modo/Zipcar’s exclusive parking spots and ability to park in residential spots (Car2go in partic.) are a kind of subsidy, the taxi licence issue shows that the public subsidizes the car-for-hire industry with artificial scarcity that means people must spend ‘time’ waiting for an available cab quite often, and of course, while we all pay taxes that go towards the airports, not everyone makes full use of the facility and poor people flight very little, while wealthy folks may make numerous air trips in a year, requiring us to build and service a larger infrastructure than absolutely necessary to handle the must-have air travel requirements for freight, etc.

          I know that the frequent fliers among us would prefer that we don’t peer too closely at the way all of us pay to support their travel choices, but to my mind there’s a hidden subsidy built right into the system. I don’t expressly have a big issue with that, but we should call it what it is, so that when something more transparent comes along, such as a public bike share system, we understand that it’s just another piece of the transportation puzzle rather than a special case getting public funds.

  12. Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm -

    The velib theft problem is over-stated according to many observers, a bargaining tool to get more money by the JD Decaux company.

    “The figures mean an average of around 15 thefts a day out of 80,000 daily uses. It’s like skinning a knee.”

    http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/is-vlibs-provider-crying-wolf-20416/

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm -

      Chris from your link….”Velib’s own figures do indeed show significant losses to theft and vandalism: the current operating fleet is made up of 20,000 bicycles but 7,800 bikes have gone missing since the scheme’s inception with 11,600 vandalised.”…….considering Velib was started in 2007 and the story is from Feb.2009 I think those numbers are very high but I cant find any recent numbers to show if the problem has been rectified.

  13. Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm -

    “I cant find any recent numbers to show if the problem has been rectified.”

    You know what no news is right?

    If it were an ongoing problem one suspects JD Decaux would continue to make the issue known, since it impacts their bottom line.

    • gman June 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm -

      Chris I have found other bike shares that have closed down more recently one was Greenbay shut down last year due to theft and vandalism but it was a very different model and I didnt think it a fair comparison.DC shut theirs down after two years due to lack of ridership and there are others that seem to be on their last legs.It seems a lot of cities originally didnt want to put taxpayer money in and instead allowed the sale of advertizing but when the system hits a rough spot they end up turning to the city for help.I wonder why Vancouver was so quick to reach for the cheque book,how they arrived at the twenty million dollar figure and did they explore any other options?

  14. Chris Keam June 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm -

    A reasonably up-to-date map of public bike share systems in place or being contemplated.

    http://goo.gl/maps/xjnt

    I think it’s safe to say that there’s a market for the service in the medium-term.

    • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 6:37 am -

      Great map Chris. It is interesting to see the difference between Europe, especially Northern Europe, and Canada and the US. In Europe bike share programs are becoming part of the standard public transit infrastructure. Part of a larger tendency in which transit is multimodal and people can easily combine cycling, train/subway/light rail and walking in their daily commute and in getting around town.

  15. Chris Keam June 28, 2012 at 7:27 am -

    One of the key messages coming out of Velo-city Steven has been the large number of gov’ts in other places, with the gumption to put real money into active transportation infrastructure. They are getting significant benefits from the investment in terms of getting cars off the road.

    Another has been the seriousness with which other places are taking the mobility needs of young and low-income people. Despite the misapprehensions of un-tutored critics, cycling is far from an elitist mode of travel and you don’t have to attend a Gil Penalosa presentation on the huge strides made in Colombia to see this. It’s in evidence at Kingsgate Mall right here in downtown Mt. UnPleasant, where people of all colours, creeds, and income levels are racking their bikes and shopping, turning in bottles, hanging out in the mall, etc, but I guess that’s an inconvenient visual. :-)

  16. Julia June 28, 2012 at 9:45 am -

    I keep wondering how many miles of sidewalk could be repaired with the annual subsidy of the bike share program that would benefit everyone – not just a few. All this city money is not coming from new tax money – it is being siphoned from other areas. I really would like to know where it is coming from.

    • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 10:11 am -

      That is a good question. Of course it applies to all infrastructure programs and not just bike sharing. What is the cost to the city of increased vehicle traffic? What is the cost of providing parking (including the opportunity costs). I would like to see the plan and assumptions for the Vancouver bike share program. Has one been shared with the public?

    • teririch June 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm -

      @Julia:

      Agreed.

      Take a walk across the historic Burrard Street Bridge and look at the ongoing decay.

      It is a sad mess and the longer that it is left, the more money it will take to fix.

      The deterioration is rapid, rebar posts are openly visual as the granite wears away.

      That ‘net’ thing to stop falling debris is still anchored under the bridge – a complete eye sore to the well traveled pedestrian pathway underneath. I often wonder what tourists think when they pass the sign that states ‘Watch for falling debris’.

      The bridge should be a priority when it comes to spending – not a communal bike scheme.

      I read this morning that the trolley line is a no go – no money. (something that services the many vs the few)

      A few weeks back the Parks Board stated they were considering cutting 900 hours at various community centres in order to help balance their budget.

      This City has got misplaced priorities.

      It is time they gave their heads a shake and looked at the bigger, overall picture.

      • Richard Unger June 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm -

        EXCELLENT COMMENT!
        Bravo teririch!

        Richard

  17. Julia June 28, 2012 at 10:46 am -

    I have the opportunity to talk to hard working city staff on a regular basis. Without exception, the frustration is rampant and the catch phrase is ‘no money’ with every conversation. In some instances I have heard quiet cautions that we are not keeping up with the maintenance and delivery of core services and infrastructure.

    I am not advocating for higher taxes – I am suggesting the internal shift of dollars to accommodate ‘Council Priorities’ could very well come back and bite us in the a$$.

    In my mind, an election day mandate is not sufficient to create this sort of core service restructuring without conversation.

    • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 11:30 am -

      I agree with that. More transparency in budgeting and a clear plan for a bike sharing program are in everyone’s interest. I am especially interested in the assumptions built in to a plan for bike sharing (or any other capital project).

  18. Higgins June 28, 2012 at 11:11 am -

    Chris Keam and Steven Forth I though that Robertson said it clearly … His bike is his tool”! But after reading your comments, LOL, I came to the conclusion that you two are his tools! Huh?

    • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 11:39 am -

      And Higgins, what do you think of a bike share program?

  19. boohoo June 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm -

    Julia, I wonder how many sidewalks, transit routes, bike share programs and more could be funded with the multi-billion dollars being spent on highway widening that serves only some.

    • gman June 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm -

      Boo the highway thing is a red herring unlike bike infrastructure 100% of the public benefit from our roads,everything you wear,eat,sleep on,type on and paint cycle lanes on is a benefit to us all,even shut ins benefit.Your garbage is moved on roads,ambulances,firetrucks,police vehicles,buses, parades and even the bike you buy was brought by roads.Unlike the bike share that will only ever benefit what is really a miniscule portion of the public no matter how much we spend.The only thing the bike lobby has to show us are altruistic visions and models that will not be proven for years if ever,long after the money is gone.If bike share was such a great success why does it rely on the public purse in order to function after operating for years in other counties.Why are the financials so murky and inaccessible. Are we just supposed to sign a blank cheque for every hair brained scheme that comes down the pike from social engineers like ICLE? Who does profit from bike share,we know the operators aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and we do know 100% of the public will pay.How do we measure success,certainly not by ridership alone.If bike share wins a piece of the public purse then another program will lose.Should we allow bike share to operate,of course,should it take away funds from other already stretched social programs,no.Wait until next December when the press will again be running stories about yet another homeless person left to freeze to death in the street.

      • boohoo June 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm -

        gman,

        The ‘highway thing’ is not a red herring, you’re just inexplicably choosing to ignore it. Get some bloody perspective.

        You fight and fight against anything that might reduce congestion, demanding concrete financial plans and projections, demanding business models and impact studies and blah blah blah and then argue we need more roads to solve congestion. That’s lunacy. The multi-billions(!!!) spent on the Golden Ears bridge, highway 1, port mann, sfpr, etc…. Can you imagine what we could have built for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users?? Facilities that would serve us ALL. And guess what, with fewer people relying on the car because of these investments there’s more road space for commercial vehicles and those that have to drive.

        But no, we can’t do that. We need to piss and moan and cry and gnash our teeth over a stupid little bike share program. 2 of thousands of lanes for bikes. I mean that’s going to cost a few million dollars! Outrage at our tax dollars being wasted! Where’s the business case??!!? Where’s the guaranteed success?!?!? Imagine the poor who’ll die because we spent this couple of million on bike infrastructure!!?!!?

        But billions and billions spent on highways? Meh.

        That’s INSANE.

        • gman June 29, 2012 at 10:35 am -

          WOW Boo how embarrassing for you,again you fly of on a rant that has no relation to my comment.You just make stuff up,I never said anything you claim I did in your reply,nothing.Did you read my comment Boo,if you did you really have some kind of problem.Your reply is “LUNACY” its “INSANE” I wont bother listing the inaccuracies we can just let the readers decide what a lack of integrity you have.LOL

      • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm -

        @gman – If the investment in highways and roadways was limited to what was needed for the distribution system you would have a better argument. But even there we will see a greater variety of distribution over the coming years, including more rail, smaller electric vehicles, and bicycles. I think we all agree that much of this investment is a public good. The same is true of some level of investment for vehicular transportation, you are right it is not going away anytime in most of our lifetimes, certainly not mine. But there is a strong argument to be made that we have over invested in infrastructure for individual vehicles and underinvested in infrastructure for walkers, public transit and bicycles. So what I would like to see is public plans for all infrastructure investments, including bike share programs. Then we can at least debate the facts and the policies. So I agree with you that the plans and assumptions for bike share should be provided.

    • Julia June 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm -

      Boohoo – they city is not widening any highways that I am aware of. It is not their jurisdiction – heaving sidewalks are. Wayward tree roots are… cross walks and pedestrian lights are.

  20. Betty June 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm -

    Found this opinion piece by Herb Grubel in the Vancouver Sun today. Page A17.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Beware+hidden+costs+bike+sharing+programs/6853071/story.html

    • Steven Forth June 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm -

      Ah, a sage from the Fraser Institute in the august pages of the Vancouver Sun. This is a fluff piece, empty of intelligent analysis by another of these savants who think they speak for the ‘silent majority’ and can’t believe they lost the civic election.

      A bike share program should get real critical scrutiny on the base of actual numbers, not these ancedotal drive by shootings.

      If the major concern about bike share is maintenance then we are in good shape. The numbers the Professor quotes would be the envy of most transit programs. For London about half a percent of bikes are repaired each day (and changing a flat or replacing a light bulb would be included in these numbers). And contrary to the Professor’s claim, if 10% of users are replacing a trip by motor vehicle this is a very big deal in terms of reduced conjection and lower green-house gass emissions.

      Let’s have a debate but let’s base it on an actual plan with clear assumptions.

      • gman June 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm -

        Steven you’re so predictable.
        1 Attack the author
        2 Attack his employer
        3 Attack the paper that ran the story
        4 Throw in some personal attacks and name calling
        5 Provide no evidence to the contrary
        6 Call for scrutiny and refer to evidence as anecdotal while providing none yourself.
        7 Play down actual costs and say we should be happy to pay them.
        8 Suggest that 10% of didly squat will reduce congestion.Calling it a BIG DEAL
        9 Try to claim the moral high ground by trotting out the scary CO2 boogyman.
        10 Ignore the fact that this 10% will be offset by the trucks employed to relocate the bikes back to their original stations.

        And last but not least you say…”Let’s have a debate but let’s base it on an actual plan with clear assumptions.”
        Maybe you could produce this mythical plan for us.Then we could possibly arrive at some kind of agreement.

        • Steven Forth June 29, 2012 at 10:47 am -

          Gman if you took the trouble to read what I said you would see that I have not been able to find any evidence one way or another and neither have you. You are right to point out that this in itself should be a red flag. I agree with that. And I would like to see a plan from the city backed up with evidence from other cities to support the assumptions in the plan. And yes, I agree that the onus is on the city to share this plan (which I assume exists) with the public.

          Even with such a plan we will differ on whether this is a legitimate piece of public infrastructure or not. You will say it is not. I will say it is, but not at any cost.

          • gman June 29, 2012 at 11:17 am -

            Steven I don’t know how many times I have to say it,I’m not against bike share, places that have it seem to like it.Of course if the they had to pay the full cost in their rental fee that might change also.I’m against using public money on something that will only be used by a miniscule part of the population.And Steven I have shown some evidence on Bixi and that showed a huge bailout.As loud as the bike lobby is Im sure one of them would have posted at least some evidence if it was positive but I’m guessing there is none. We have also seen that vandalism has been a problem and that there are logistical problems with the relocation of bikes.We have yet to discuss the negative effect it may have on existing bike rentals that have been started by people with their own money paying high rents that have a limited seasonal window to try and turn a profit.

          • gman June 29, 2012 at 11:40 am -

            Steven I should also say that the data presented in the piece you attacked was taken from McGill University researchers,so I guess you have the same feelings about McGill as you do about the Frazer Institute.

        • Mira June 29, 2012 at 11:46 am -

          gman,
          I only wanted to say what great links you’ve posted. Thanks.
          as for Steven @ company you are wasting your time.
          They are driven by ideology. If you read the tweets coming out of the Velo City “conference” you’d choke at the level of propaganda delivered. Amazing!

          • gman June 29, 2012 at 11:51 am -

            Thanks Mira,they seem to have a screw the cost and buy the cat another canary attitude.

  21. Richard Unger June 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm -

    Dear Steven,

    I give you a F grade to “thinking out of the box” on this :

    “This is a fluff piece, empty of intelligent analysis by another of these savants who think they speak for the ‘silent majority’ and can’t believe they lost the civic election.”

    Yes Steven, is the right time for you and biking advocates to pull your heads out of the sand and accept the reality.

    I read this somewhere “Vancouver have no ridership, no infrastructure, we have a Helmet law” if the Bike share program is so successful in all those other cities why don’t the PRIVATE interests take over on their own dime instead of making parasitic passes at the public purse?

    What?

    Exactly!

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr. Richard Unger MD (Ret)

    • Steven Forth June 29, 2012 at 10:55 am -

      What is the ‘reality’ that I am supposd to accept?

      As to whether this should be public or private, there is an argument that this is a form of public transportation infrastructure, like roads, busses, subways, etc. and not private like taxis, personal cars, and standard bicycles. A debate as to whether bike share programs should be seen as public infrastructure makes sense. To deny that there is any grounds for such a debate does not. Even if one accepts that bike shares are a legitimate piece of public infrastructure, one can still challenge if this is the right investment for Vancouver at this time.

      • Mira June 29, 2012 at 11:11 am -

        I disagree Steven.
        This bike share program, is at heart a private enterprise pushed on to us through and from behind advocacy groups, non profits, academia and city staff advocating “the big health benefit for the masses” as if we were a bunch of schoolkids listening about reproduction from none other but Adam and Eve!
        Please, give us a break Steven!
        “Even if one accepts that bike shares are a legitimate piece of public infrastructure, one can still challenge if this is the right investment for Vancouver at this time.”
        Check Vision’s track record of listening to the public. A big ZERO!
        These initiatives from Vision and brothers in arms is like gangrene. (Richard would be more inclined to talk about this) you want to save the body, you have to cut the leg. SO it’s IMHO that Vancouver needs to get rid of the bad leg Vision. Before it’s too late!

        • Steven Forth June 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm -

          Oh, you mean it is another one of those programs like Skytrain, or major bridge and highway projects. Possibly. Your position is that bike share programs are not, or should not, be public infrastructure. That is a reasonable position. Not one I agree with but you have good arguments on your side – it benefits too few people, it covers too narrow a part of the grid, if there is real demand it will be provided by the private sector (not sure how one would get the space it needs, but you will no doubt say the private company that does this should acquire the space itself). On the other hand, I would say that a bike share system will decrease downtown conjecstion, will take load of the downtown transit system, will encourage active transit alternatives and make the city more attractive.

          You and I have different experiences of Vision and the NPA. My encounters with the NPA were negative. I found them closed to new ideas, protective of their in group, and hostile to public input. I also found, in their last campaign, that they were close to the most negative forces in our city, several of the nastiest developers, casino money, and other practiioners of big project development. Your experience seems to be the inverse and that may be because I share many of Vision’s values and you share the NPA’s values. That’s politics and we will contest it again at the next election.

          • Max July 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm -

            @Steven:

            PLEASE, save us your sanctimonious diatribe about the big bad NPA and their associations with ‘big development’.

            Anyone only has to look at Vision’s list of donors and the rubber stamp attitude towards those donors to see who is pandering to who. They have hurt neighborhoods, in favor of a cheque and I refer to the RIZE building. But then again, some of that money is going to fund all things bikes, right? Just like the $48M they collected from parking meters. Money for bike lanes while everything else goes to pot.

            Vision employed some of the nasitest online snipers during their last campaing, and yet you have the audacity to point fingers at the NPA?

            How rich!

            Vision has killed democracy in this city.They treat the citizens like crap. They have an agenda an they will force it down our throats regardless.

            Give me a freaking break.

  22. Karla Sofen June 29, 2012 at 11:11 am -
  23. boohoo June 29, 2012 at 11:48 am -

    Gman,

    If you refuse to see the connections so be it. Nothing I can say will sway you one way or the other.

    Public money is spent on all sorts of things that only benefit a small portion of the population. Your bizarre fascination with cycling is comical. If you actually cared about misplaced/poorly spent public money you have plenty of other, more expensive things to complain about. But you don’t so…

    • gman June 29, 2012 at 11:59 am -

      Boo that’s probably because that’s what this thread is about.The only thing that’s bizarre is your misrepresentation of what I say.

  24. boohoo June 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm -

    Yes gman, we must stick within the confines of this thread when discussing these issues. There’s no point in talking bigger picture as these things are totally unrelated and don’t all impact each other. Good point.

  25. gman June 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm -

    Here is a short video that looks at the demographics of users. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2_t4oLzj7E

    • Bill June 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm -

      That is a very interesting video, gman, and I believe that Vancouver’s results would be similar. Take a look at the demographics of cyclists. When you can find them young white male cyclists followed by young white female cyclists are disproportionately represented and this is a demographic that is not growing. No doubt more recently arrived Canadians are bemused by our thinking that bicycles are a progressive form of transportation and one day will remove the segregated bicycle lanes.

      • gman June 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm -

        Bill I thought so too,considering china is the fastest growing consumers of autos and one of the first things they do when they arrive here is obtain a drivers license.But even more important,will the poor be disenfranchised from the program due to cost and will there even be stations in the DTES.All good questions I think.

      • Steven Forth June 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm -

        Or not. Ever been to Tokyo or Seoul? Almost everyone cycles. And it is picking up again in Beijing. My friends include Nikei and Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and CBCs, Koreans, Philipinos and Sikhs. We all cycle. Welcome to Vancouver. We like it here.

  26. Betty June 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm -

    “Ever been to Tokyo or Seoul? Almost everyone cylces” Was a wee bit dubious about that comment so questioned two students that volunteer for the same organization as I.

    When I asked the fellow from Seoul if everyone cycles in the city – he didn’t know what to say ‘cuz he thought it was a trick question and then finally with a very puzzled look said , NO!

    The girl from Japan laughed and then asked if someone was pulling my leg!

    Well…………….Steven????

    • gman June 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm -

      Betty I know,when I read that I laughed so hard I couldnt even muster up a comment.They have built bike paths along the Han river in Seoul but its recreational and attracts inexperienced family riders on the weekends. In China one of the proudest moments for a family is when a member can afford a car.It has more to do with poverty in the Philippines than anything else and Taiwan has a large scooter culture.I will leave you to enjoy a relaxing ride on the streets of Seoul,and notice the only other bike in the video is parked on a sidewalk.Enjoy… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sET_stEvkN8

      • Terry M June 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm -

        Hilarious video… For educational purposes of Velo city advocates that crowded in Vancouver last week, gman!
        Betty’s comment as well … Lmao!
        Now this thread needs Glissando’s slogan from his last post … Tremors…
        “We live in Vancouver and this keeps us BIXI”!
        :-)

    • gman June 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm -

      You may also be interested in how the Mayors office in Seoul looks at cycling.They don’t look at it as a form of transportation but more as recreation.

      • Steven Forth June 30, 2012 at 6:53 pm -
        • gman June 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm -

          Steven your article says they will …well basically pay people to ride the bikes.And they are going to use abandoned bikes which there are some 7300 per year.Wow sounds promising.They also say their going to make it work by more stringent patrol of those pesky parking pirates to clear up the bike lanes.Im not trying to slag their efforts but in a city with the population and size of Seoul where trains rule I would expect there to be a ton of bikes at stations.And the 88 k of bike lanes that are touting are the ones that are on either side of the Han river that are about 40 k per side,used mostly for recreation and of course please correct me on this if I am wrong.What he said in my link was they look at commuting and recreational cycling as two different things and judging from the lanes they have built so far to me it seems obvious where their priorities are.As I know the Koreans like to do things big this seems more like pandering to the bike lobby and they will put more into recreational riding.But thats Seoul not Vancouver,two very different places.

    • gman June 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm -

      Jeez forgot the link……http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrIXm6PUpO0

    • Steven Forth June 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm -

      Just look outside any station in Tokyo and try to count the number of bicycles. Or stay in any suburban neighbourhood and see all the people, from six year olds to seventy year olds on their mama-chari. (I can hardly wait for someone to claim that the bike jungles outside stations are somehow a form of pollution when they are actually just an example of bad planning and are much better than they once were now that most stations aree designed with bike parking. So yes, bikes are used all the time and by all sorts of peopl in Tokyo and Seoul. And yes, I cycle everyday I am in Tokyo, along with my nephew’s six year old daughter (she cycles to school), her 40 year old father (he cycles to work), and my 64 year old sisters in law (who do the grocery shopping by bicyle). All of whom are Japanese. Note also that in Seoul and Tokyo people generally cycle on sidewalks, not the roads (when there are sidewalks) and this is seen as normal. Of course it is a very different style of cycling, and one seldom cycles at more than 15 kmp and 10 kph is more common. This works as one is generally cycling to the nearst station. Multi-modal transit. http://www.japancycling.org/v2/info/bikesj/mamachari.shtml

      • gman June 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm -

        Steven did you ever think about the conversation your relatives have before you arrive,it might be something like this…….
        Stevens coming….

        Crap when?You know what this means…

        Ya it means we have to ride the damn bikes again…

        Thats right.How long will he be here,you know I have to get the oil changed in the BMW and I dont want it to turn into a three day talk about cycling…..

        Dont worry we can take the train if we go anywhere…

        Ya he seems ok with that…..

        Just kiddin Steven,I know the bike has been an important part of transport for years there.But somthing you say is also interesting….”Of course it is a very different style of cycling, and one seldom cycles at more than 15 kmp and 10 kph is more common.”…..very different from Vancouver’s Lance wannabes.

        • Steven Forth July 1, 2012 at 7:02 am -

          Nice try gman, but I actually picked up my cycling habits from living in Japan, not the other way around.

          Yes, the style of cycling in Tokyo is completely different from Vancouver. Upright bikes, shared sidewalks, slower speeds, about half of bike trips are combined with other forms of public transit.

    • Steven Forth June 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm -

      As City Caucus prefer one link per comment, here is another interesting link, Kasai station provides automated bicycle parking for 9,400 bicycles. Last time I was there though (February this year) the bike parking was full and there were thousands of bikes around the station.

    • Steven Forth June 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm -

      Sorry, here is the link for Kasai Station. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasai_Station

      • gman June 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm -

        Steven China is a communist country and if they want people to ride bike the people will ride bikes.But your link really confirms what I said about car ownership in China,but this from your link says it all…..”When asked if she’d like to go on a romantic bike ride, dating show contestant Ma Nuo caused an uproar in the Chinese media and blogosphere in 2010 with her tart retort, “I’d rather cry in the back of a BMW than smile on a bicycle.”

    • Steven Forth June 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm -

      Well Betty?

  27. Betty June 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm -

    @gman
    Scooter-dude is mighty brave!

    • gman June 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm -

      Or stupid…LOL

  28. boohoo June 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm -

    Gman, while your use of youtube one off clips to prove a point about an entire cities cycling habits (or anything complex) is pretty silly, you happen to be right about Seoul. I know not because I googled it but because I lived there.

    Same with Japan and China, I lived there. But people there cycle. A lot.

    You (and everyone else who talks about places they know nothing about) should go at least visit these places before holding them up as examples of something because you happened to see it on youtube.

    Since you bring up Seoul though, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Cheonggyecheon. They did the unthinkable thing, tearing down not only a small section of viaduct but an entire stretch of freeway! The results? I’ll let you guess.

    Here it is in youtube for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hum3Ogf6qVo

    • gman June 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm -

      Boo why do you even bother you make it to easy.First you criticize me for posting a humorous video related to the subject then you agree Im right…huh.Then you go on and make sweeping assumptions about people you know nothing about,you have no idea where Ive been or the ethnic makeup of my family or where their living now.Then you finish up by linking to a VIDEO…LOL..that is totally unrelated to the thread…sheesh.
      We have a saying here that says a picture is worth a thousand words and in Korea they have one about their government that says “They like to dig the earth” You figure it out.

  29. boohoo June 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm -

    Good job identifying my ironic use of a youtube clip, glad that didn’t go right over your head….

    Have you been to Seoul? Lived there? Tokyo? China?

  30. boohoo June 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm -

    Oh and totally unrelated. I would make the point that removing a large chunk of freeway/lanes of traffic downtown for a pedestrian path/day-lighting a creek has maybe one or two parallels with removing a chunk of freeway/lanes of traffic for bike infrastructure. But heaven forbid we think outside the narrow scope of this thread.

  31. boohoo June 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm -

    Stop being a hypocrite, it looks ugly on you.

  32. Betty July 1, 2012 at 7:17 am -

    @ Steven
    Well what? All I did was call you on your ridiculous statement regarding cycling habits in both Seoul and Tokyo with anecdotes from people who actually live in these cities.

    Off topic a bit, but found this in “the august” Vancouver Sun Business section. It’s amazing what can happen when taxpayer’s dollars aren’t involved.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Google+inspired+offers+deluxe+mobile+office+ride+work/6866750/story.html

    • Steven Forth July 1, 2012 at 9:00 am -

      Yes Betty, and you are wrong, your sample of two students did not give you good information. Cycling is woven into daily life in Seoul and Tokyo in ways we can’t imagine in Vancouver. And people from six into their 90s cycle every day. As it happens, I have spent a large chunk of my life in Tokyo. I mentioned your comment on Hb (where about 1/4 of my friends live in Tokyo or Kyoto) and it caused much merriment. Thank you for the entertainement.

      • boohoo July 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm -

        Steven,

        I agree with you about Tokyo, but not Seoul. Motorbikes are common, not so much cyclists. I lived in Seoul and I didn’t know anyone who cycled, but plenty of people motorcycled/scootered. Of course any of that because they have a grown up metro/transit system.

  33. Betty July 1, 2012 at 9:05 am -

    @Steven
    I give up – I feel like I’m arguing with a representative from a certain “religious group” who used to show up at my parent’s door on a Sunday morning!

    Signing off………………………..

    • Vancouver Kiddo July 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm -

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. “religious group” is very much the definition for this…

  34. Steven Forth July 1, 2012 at 9:11 am -

    Sorry, meant Fb.

  35. Bill July 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm -

    Steven, you have managed to deflect the conversation away from the very good point that gman made – cycling is very much a Progressive, elitist activity where there is a disproportionate number of non visible minority cyclists.

    • boohoo July 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm -

      I love how cycling is elitist when one argument fits, and nothing but hippies when another argument fits.

      You guys and your ‘religious group’ and whatever other nonsense–why do you always look at the extreme of a group of people and blanket everyone who does it as that extreme? It makes absolutely no sense and just polarizes things off the bat.

    • Steven Forth July 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm -

      “cycling is very much a Progressive, elitist activity where there is a disproportionate number of non visible minority cyclists” – Any evidence for this claim in Vancouver (not Washington DC which has a completely different cultural makeup)?

      • Bill July 2, 2012 at 10:59 am -

        The VACC did a survey which they said established that cyclists had above average income and education which is consistent with gman’s Washington clip that cycling does nothing to meet the transportation needs of poorer residents. As for the ethnicity of Vancouver cyclists just take a look around you the next time you are critically massing on a Friday.

      • gman July 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm -

        Well ya Steven,this clip sure doesn’t represent what I see ethnically when I walk around downtown every day.I don’t know why it is but It is what it is lets try and be honest Steven. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=dMTX-KK96H8

        And the poor I see in my neighborhood riding usually have a big bag of bottles on their back,I think its a pretty safe bet they wont get on a BIXI bike.

      • Steven Forth July 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm -

        Hi Bill – Is this the report you are referring to?

        http://www.biketoworkmetrovan.ca/sites/default/files/uploaded-docs/Businesses%20for%20Bikes%20Brochure_2.pdf

        How accurate do you think this is? Well, probably more accurate than the use of Critical Mass as a representative of Vancouver cyclists.

        I ride around Vancouver all the time and see plenty of visible minorities on bikes. And I work in tech with people from all over the world and about 80% of us cycle. I have even done business meetings on a slow ride on the Richmond dike. Beats golf. And the meeting was with a guy who is Sikh and another who is half Chinese half Japanese.

        Celebrating at home today as my grandaughter went on her first long bike ride (in one of those carriers that goes in front of the cyclists, and yes, she was wearing a helmet).

  36. jenables July 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm -

    My thoughts..doesn’t anyone wonder how the hell these things become so pricey?? I think the same things about highway widening, city crews, etc. why on earth does it take so long and are we really getting good value?? Can’t we award contracts with clauses in them as to how long it will take and how much we will pay?? Cause last time i checked there was no shortage of work to be done…how does this relate to this thread? Well, i was reading about velib, the 400 euro bikes and thought, those are the ugliest bikes i have ever seen and cleary not made to withstand use by the public. Do you think it could be…gasp..on purpose? At four hundred euros on a bulk buy, someone is profiting. Why would it be any different here? Someone who isn’t operating out of an office on west Pender and doesn’t have the word commerce in their business name, and isn’t one of their affiliates should be pre-auditing this ON BEHALF OF THE TAXPAYERS. Otherwise i will always give the idea a side-eye.

  37. Max July 2, 2012 at 11:03 am -

    From the New York Times:

    February 11, 2009, 2:25 pm

    Vandalism Vexes Paris Bike-Rental System

    By NICK KURCZEWSKI

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/vandalism-vexes-paris-bike-rental-system/

  38. gman July 2, 2012 at 11:43 am -

    Wonder if this was in place during Greg-Gores riot if there would be any bikes left at all?And that goofy girl that posted on her FB page…..”Noooo not the treeees” Would instead have said……”Noooo not the Biiikes”

  39. gman July 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm -

    I thought I would re-post a tongue in cheek comment I made on the helmet thread.But now it doesnt sound any more crazy than this financial black hole of a pyramid scheme,and by the way thats how they themselves refer to it when trying to promote it,in my mind a scheme has a negative connotation….mmmm.
    “.But what I find offensive is giving twenty million dollars to a private company and changing a law to promote an agenda.Why doesnt Gregor go down to canadian tire with that twenty million and buy two million $100 bikes and city workers could drive around the city and shovel them off the back of a truck.Then at least we would all have bikes.And then we could take all that canadian tire money and spend it on bikelanes,pure genius if I do say so myself.”

    • Steven Forth July 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm -

      Where does the $20 million number come from? The same source that claimed the bike lanes cost $20 million?

      • Mike Klassen
        Mike Klassen July 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm -

        $20 million is over 10 years, or approximately $2 million per year.

        • Steven Forth July 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm -

          Thanks Mike, is there a public document where this is set out?

        • gman July 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm -

          Dang…you mean we can only buy twenty thousand bikes a year…..aw nutz!!!!!
          I guess we might have to take a number.

  40. JJ July 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm -

    Gran… IMHO I find it suspect when I see Steven forth commenting on this site several times a day , when he wants to deflect the conversation, create spin, and change the subject … But I never found his comments on his fri d’s site over at Frances Bula. They talk about bikes there too… But no Steven Forth… :-(
    Chris Keam on the other hand he is more consistent, he rants everywhere!

  41. Steven Forth July 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm -

    Not sure what a “fri d’s” is, and I don’t know Frances Bula personally, but for some reason CC has become my online home for commenting on Vancouver matters, it is a kind of welcome distraction from more purely business activities. Out of curiosity, what do you ‘suspect’?

  42. Max July 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm -

    This is an interesting comment (as reported by Jeff Lee/Vancouver Sun)

    ….’Under the proposed model, each of Alta’s stations would hold up to 20 bikes at a time and largely be located in public metered parking areas. Dobrovolny said the city is still in negotiations and isn’t disclosing the entire subsidy it would have to offer Alta to make the program work, But he said a portion of costs would be in the form of foregone parking meter revenues.’

    ****

    So is the $1.9 million subsidy per year that has been reported a moving target? Could it cost more?