On Nov. 7 our City Council will consider a request from LimeBike, a dockless bike sharing company. This business model is a bad fit for our community on many levels.
Other than dining and retail displays adjacent to brick and mortar businesses, the City currently restricts businesses from operating on any public property, including our parks and sidewalks. If the City breaks precedent to allow LimeBike (whose bikes may be parked anywhere), it will need specific legal findings to prevent multiple other similar bike share companies from dumping bikes on our streets as well.
We already have multiple bike rental operators (of which I am one), who keep their fleets on their own premises overnight and when not in use. We provide helmets when required or requested, properly adjust our bikes individually for safe riding, direct our riders away from busy streets (e.g. Orange and Third and Fourth), and provide lots of advice. LimeBike offers none of these services, but would undercut local businesses who have been supporting Coronado’s countless local fund-raisers and charities for years.
LimeBike has been operating for seven whole months, and only in large cities and college towns. Do we want to be the guinea pigs for their unproven concept? They have said they want to focus only on commuters, reducing bridge traffic by providing 20-30 bikes per day to ferry commuters. Why did their request to the Bicycle Advisory Committee ask for up to 600 bikes? The Navy bases require helmets for bike riders, but LimeBike doesn’t provide them. They say they will collect wayward bikes within 24 hours, but who is going to move a 45 pound bike (which can’t be rolled because the rear wheel is locked) out of your driveway so you can get to work in the morning?
Will they improve the appearance of our downtown streets like The Flower Lady does? Will they hurt local businesses and then fade away, as DecoBike is doing in San Diego?
Am I just complaining because they could hurt my business? No, in fact I have been a vocal advocate of the Free Summer Shuttle because it benefits our community, even though it has hurt my business.
Please voice your opinion by writing, calling, or better yet, attending the Nov. 7 City Council meeting.