Sunday, April 17, 2016

Smartphone E-Bikes, Smarter Bike Share, and Not So Smart in Seattle.

Why haven't e-bicycles completely caught on here in the U.S.?
Could it be that greater connectivity might make e-bikes more attractive?  Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof thinks a smartphone connected e-bike could bring more users.  I also think that Americans can be a bit dear about cleanliness.  Or prissy, as my mother would have said.  Don't get me wrong, when you need strong soldiers to save your island nation from an occupying foreign military, you don't immediately think of calling the Dutch.  You want to call the Americans.  But on e-bikes, we can be a little prissy, sweat perhaps a little less, and still be doing something positive.  That and use Twitch while we are waiting at the light.  Right?

It seems that bicycle shop owners may not always have the right insurance.  In the U.K. one company is trying to create products tailored to the business needs of individual shops.  It would be interesting to see if U.S. underwriters had given any thought to this sort of business-specific policy.  I mean when they aren't lobbying Congress with their incredible girth.

And now it seems bike sharing is getting smarter and more flexible.   I mentioned bike libraries last blog, and now there are longterm bike rentals, which may work better for some people, particularly those on vacation.

A lot of business owners have complained about bike lanes harming their bottom line.  Overwhelmingly, the data suggest that bike lanes do the opposite.  In Memphis . . . yup, Memphis . . . bike lanes gave birth to an arts center.  Businesses were spawned.  Wait, Memphis?  Okay fine, but where is Stax Music in all of this?  If they linked bicycling in some direct or indirect way to the likes of Mavis Staples or Sam and Dave that would basically be like heaven on earth.  No?
I find it interesting that Seattle has apparently just figured out that Scott Kubly, DC's former transit Czar, was previously working for bike share manufacturer Alta before he was hired by Seattle to be its transit Czar.  Did they look at his resume?  How would the transit Czar serve the city without participating in what were the then-already-ongoing negotiations for the system.  Their surprise is a bit odd.  Discuss amongst yourselves.
Do you have an immediate, irrational interest in transit planners?  I do.  Our transit planner is also a cyclist.  Which makes him a little closer to perfect than the rest of us, I think.  Nice piece.  Read it. Be wise and thoughtful.  Or as Yoda would say, "Thoughtful and wise you will be."

So if I see you in the bike lane, whether you are a professional planner, or a parent, which means you are a SUPER PLANNER, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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