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Mobikes - has anyone used them - is bicycle sharing the future

Mobikes are very distinctive machines. If you did steal one you'd pretty soon be spotted on the undersized orange wheels. The sharing system works by smartphone app (of course) and the big advantage over Boris bikes is that the hire machine does not have to be returned to a fixed docking station. I think you can just leave it where you stop. I almost tried one to get back from the Archway recently, but the trial Mobike are running is confined to Ealing and Islington. I'd have felt bad about leaving an orphan Mobike in Haringey. And of course they'd know where I live.

Transport for London certainly thinks cycling is the future. It has granted Haringey £5.8m to ease cycle flow through Crouch End, with a view to cycling and walking replacing cars in the foreseeable future.

You can find out more about the Liveable Neighbourhoods initiative , as it applies to Crouch End, at the Neighbourhood Forum AGM on March 4th.

Thanks to Mark for spotting the Islington Mobikes and to Chris Arnold to the possible dangers of signing a contract with an overseas company

Tags: liveable neighbourhoods, mobike, modal filter

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Apparently there is a reaction against these 'dockless' bike sharing systems. The absence of a need to return them to a home base, (which, by contrast, is how the Boris/Barclays/Santander bikes work), means that they can be left anywhere. And that's just what is happenng, to the extent the the Platform on Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PEBSS) – a body formed by the European Cyclists' Federation – issued a position paper on dockless systemswarning that European cities risk being "swamped" by the dockless bikes. Amsterdam and Wandsworth are two places that have issued prohibitions on some or all such system as you can read on Bikebiz.

I've just conducted a search for a dockless bike in Crouch End. There are none to be found. But we might need some if the town centre becomes a Liveable Neighbourhood

I saw a couple in Crouch End last Friday. Both were discarded/parked slap bang in the middle of a pavement (one next to the Queens pub). 

Clearly if there's no place set aside for these things they will quickly become a nuisance.

Meanwhile the provision of cycling infrastructure (bike stands, secure cycle parking, etc) is part of council planning policy - with new areas such as the redesigned Town Hall Square having to provide scores of bike stands to comply with planning conditions. The thing is the new hire bikes don't require a stand, they self-lock and are propped up on their own kick stand. The technology appears to be out-pacing the policy.

The cycling lobby are very keen to point out that with a little encouragement and safer roads, a lot more people will cycle. Perhaps they're right - but if you're a part time cyclist, wouldn't the small charges for the hirebikes be a more attractive option than shelling out £600 or more for a new bike, which you'll seldom use, have to find a place to store, and may well get nicked anyway?

Should we embrace the future of cycling, whilst ridding ourselves of fixed bike stands? 


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