Maybe Dockless Bikesharing Was A Bad Idea

Image: Twitter

On Wednesday, Singapore-based bikesharing startup oBike dropped off 400 autolocking, smartphone-connected bicycles onto the footpaths of London, having already arrived in Australia early last month. Two days later, and, uh, things aren't going so hot.

As Trusted Reviews editor Michael Passingham tweeted this morning, one London city district has already hit several of oBike's bikes with big yellow warning tags for causing "unnecessary obstruction".

In addition to obstruction notices, the program has left pedestrians frustrated, footpaths swamped, and at least one bicycle seemingly island-marooned, making it increasingly clear that perhaps dockless bikesharing is not a very good idea -- at least not in London.

oBike launched in February 2017 with the idea to connect thousands of rentable bikes to a smartphone app that allows you to locate a GPS-equipped bike, scan a QR code to unlock it, and ride it around for about $1.99 per half hour. Once you've arrived at your destination, all you need to do is lock the bike electronically and walk away, ideally without blocking footpaths or bike lanes. The concept differs significantly from most city bikesharing programs, such as London's Boris Bikes, which require city-approved docks to be installed along predetermined commuter routes.

While this is oBike's first time in London, the company already completed a trial-run in Cambridge earlier this year. There, the company was reportedly forced to downsize its fleet from 500 down to 20 bikes after ruffling the feathers of the Cambridge City Council.

In Australia, oBike has riled up commuters by clogging public bicycle racks. And Aussies have discovered oBikes in unfortunate locations, such as underwater and beneath an overpass. oBike's competitors, including Mobike and Ofo, have also faced challenges at home and abroad.

oBike has already agreed to remove its bikes from three districts in West London after being confronted by the Hammersmith & Fulham Council, according to the Council's blog. We've reached out to oBike to hear about how exactly they feel their London launch is going.



    What did they expect. If i hired one, I'd try to park it in the most inhospitable place possible or at the top of a tower somehow.


        ... because he's childlike ie. thinks the world is about them and that being a PIA is funny.

        Because he's an inconsiderate @$$#0!3 who should be castrated to prevent his obviously defective genes from being passed to future generations.

          You really don't understand the human condition.

            All to well.

            Castration, 2nded and 3rded. . It's the only solution . . lol

              Why stop there, just chop off the hands of thieves.

        Why are you surprised? Tell me you're not that ignorant. People are a**holes. All the shit sharing and driverless vehicles are ideology at it's best.

        Consider this. Public toilets.

    Imagine how cool the world would be without the 1% of people that think its funny to screw things up for everyone else. Same people that think its funny to king hit people on a night out.

      I don't think it's funny to king hit anyone. It's a long stretches to suggest that at all.

        Nope. Not much of a stretch in my mind. Anti-social arsehole in both cases, just more scared of getting caught in one case.

          I wouldn't say parking a bike in strange places is antisocial. Destroying it would be.

            No, it's the same as urinating on a building or smoking near people eating. It is most definitely anti-social and as I said before you should be castrated to prevent your defective genes from being passed on.

              Too late, genes have already been passed on. Hehehe. Anyway, who in the hell wants a world filled with people that are all the same. Viva la difference.

                Yes, no one wants a world filled with people that are all the same. Or a world filled with spineless jerks like you that think it's funny to behave like an asshole without anyone seeing you do it then boast about it anonymously on the internet. Are you enjoying teaching your kids how to be a coward as well?

                  So far i haven't done anything and yet here you are spewing abuse at me. Who's the moron in this situation.

    I think we aare seeing peak app market stupidity here. it'll only be a matter of time before the bubble pops

      I disagree. I've used the bikes when I was in Shenzhen. They were so useful, and they are helping to get cards off the road. Now that they're in Melbourne, I'm going to start catching a train to Richmond station, then ride the 1.5 km to my office. That's much better than driving in every morning

        make sure you shower when you get to work then. Otherwise your colleagues will smell you coming and you will get a reputation as such.

          1.5km... not 15km. On a bike. Wouldn't even get the heart rate up. Safe as houses on that ride. Great idea!

            Wouldn't even get my the heart rate up fixed.
            Trying to justifying a lack of hygiene isn't a smart move.

              What? How is it a lack of hygiene? Are you showering after a walk from the coffee machine back to your desk?
              A short bike ride that does not result in the body working hard enough to create a sweat will not cause abusive body odor.
              And I would hazard a guess that for someone who is willingly and wanting to ride to avoid creating more traffic is probably fit enough as it is where it is not going to be a problem.

              lool the pseudohygene card...

              Fresh sweat doesn't stink so bad, its the 3 day smoke and stale beer that really stinks.
              Its like calling a desigher beard "unhygienic" when it is as washable as all hair. keep up with the entertainment. .

              Last edited 13/09/17 2:01 pm

                Fresh sweat doesn't stink so bad

                Keep telling yourself that stinky.

    What do you mean? This bike found a dock. :-P

      I was thinking I couldn't be the only person who saw that...

    How are people this ignorant? No really! I put bike sharing in the same category as:
    * Public car sharing
    * Driverless taxis
    * Public transport

    All of the above will be abused just like public toilets are. Constantly messed up. I doubt they will ever be anything more than ignorant ideology.

    I hope they don't last.
    These things clutter the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, and now Melbourne.

    You're not doing anyone any favours by dumping your shitty bikes all over the city.

    I don't understand how this has gotten to the stage that they have launched it in mulitple cities. It's such a bad idea, who is pouring money into it?

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