Dockless bikes, scooters are all over San Diego. Here’s how they work.
Dockless bikes or station-free ridesharing bicycles have arrived in San Diego County by the droves and they have quickly gained attention — both negative and positive — from residents, business owners and tourists.
But do you know what they are? How they work? How many different companies are operating in the region? Do you know if you can ride one on the sidewalk?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the new toys on the block, and the answers will vary from company to company. Here’s what we found:
How many dockless bikes are in San Diego?
It’s unclear how many dockless bikes can be found in total across San Diego County, but there are believed to be roughly 4,000 of them in the city of San Diego alone, according to reporting from the San Diego Reader.
What are the dockless bike companies operating in San Diego?
There are at least four dockless bike companies operating in San Diego and one selling motorized scooters:
How do they work?
Generally they all use the same, basic concept:
- You download the app you want.
- You create an account and link a credit card to it.
- You scan the QR code on the bike or scooter to unlock it.
- You ride the vehicle and park it when finished.
- The timers on the bikes and scooters reset every time they are locked.
Each service also provides instructions through its app or website. Here’s how Ofo explains it on its page.
How much does it cost to use?
Dockless bikes and scooters charge per half hour or an hour. Here’s how those break down:
- Ofo charges $1 an hour for its dockless bikes, but they are free all of March 2018.
- Mobike charges $1 for every 30 minutes.
- LimeBike charges $1 for every 30 minutes.
- Spin charges $1 for every 30 minutes.
- Bird charges $1 to unlock a scooter, then 15 cents for every minute of use.
Are helmets required?
California law requires bicycle riders under 18 to wear a helmet. San Diego and the dockless bicycle companies encourage all riders to wear a helmet at all times, but they don’t provide one.
Bird scooter riders must wear a helmet at all times. The company offers free helmets, which users can request through the mobile app.
Can I ride on the sidewalk?
Electric bicycles and scooters are not allowed on sidewalks. Non-electric bicycles are OK to use on sidewalks in most cities except Escondido, El Cajon, Carlsbad, Vista and National City where sidewalk cycling has been outlawed. Users are limited to one rider per bicycle or scooter.
The Downtown San Diego Partnership has more details on what’s allowed and not allowed when using dockless bikes and scooters.
What are people saying about it?
Opinions on dockless bikes vary widely across San Diego County, depending on who’s talking.
While some argue that the availability of dockless bikes and scooters improves transportation choices and ultimately reduces the number of cars on the road, others say there should be better guidance on how to use the bikes, especially when it comes to parking them in a way that doesn’t clog walkways.
Opinion: Bike sharing benefits city, riders
The San Diego Union-Tribune Ideas and Opinion team went into Downtown San Diego Friday to talk to people using the bikes. Here’s what they said.
Now it’s your turn — tell us what you think of San Diego’s dockless bikesharing program. Have you used the bikes? Is there anything about them that you don’t like? Do you still have questions about them?
Read The Conversation on Flipboard.
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