OBceans Pissed Off about LimeBikes Taking Over

by on February 23, 2018 · 32 comments

in Ocean Beach

LimeBikes on Abbott Street. Photo by Adam Ewig.

There’s some heated (but civil) debate these days on at least one Ocean Beach facebook about the company LimeBikes spreading their bicycles around OB.

One person commented that when he came home from work, he found 20 green and white bikes on the sidewalk in front of his apartment.

Another person stated that they’re over at Dog Beach too, blocking access.

Was there any debate about LimeBikes bringing their privately-owned rental bike-sharing thing to Ocean Beach? I don’t think so. This reporter has been to the vast majority of OB Town Council and OB Planning Board meetings, and never heard any mention that the green and white bikes were coming.

People in Imperial Beach, where a similar program began in early September last year, haven’t been too pleased either. Some people banged up the rental bikes, treating them like trash. A video caught one person slamming a bke down in the middle of a street in IB and just leaving it there. Another person was seen throwing one off the IB Pier.

According to NBC7, riders download the app and find a bike. In IB at least, it costs $1 for every 30 minutes to ride and you pay through the app.

Workers with the bike share program have already been out, repairing and replacing bikes, hopeful people will learn to respect property that is not theirs.

LimeBike told NBC 7, if they catch someone ruining the bikes, they won’t be fined because they don’t want to take it that far. Instead, their user privileges may be revoked.

Other complaints have been that the bike option is corporate. That they take over public space on the sidewalks.

And we’ll add one: who decided?

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam February 23, 2018 at 2:12 pm

I think they are a great idea, especially for young people like myself who cannot afford a beach cruiser or do not have enough space to store one.
I am particularly confused as to how the bikes are “blocking access to Dog Beach”?


RB February 23, 2018 at 2:20 pm

These bikes are no more ridiculous than the bike symbols (sharrows) painted all over our streets. This company will soon learn liberal environmentalists drive cars not bikes to their rallies……..


Jon Carr February 23, 2018 at 3:32 pm

On the surface, it seems silly to complain about bike sharing.

I think the concern I’ve been hearing from most locals is not that bike sharing is a problem. It’s a great idea! But the execution of this particular program has been extremely poor. Consider the merchant who came to his shop this morning to find 4 of these bikes parked out front on his property. Is that OK? He didn’t think so, and called the company to have them removed. Why is that his responsibility? When I walk out of my front door and find 4 or 5 of these in my driveway, wtf am I supposed to do with them? I’d probably report them as illegal dumping on the Git ‘re done app. Although I’m not ready to start whining or complaining too much, but I get why people are upset. It feels invasive, like a corporate entity was able to just set up shop on my front lawn across from the mini-hotel next door. Apparently zoning laws just don’t matter if you live at the beach because beaches are for tourists.

There’s also a great article out there from VOSD from last year that would behoove those interested in the topic to read:


Geoff Page February 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

I came across these bikes at Dog Beach when I was running on Wednesday night. There were maybe 20 of them lined up behind the bollards at the bottom of the concrete ramp that leads up to the beach. They may not be blocking all access to Dog Beach but they are blocking free access from the parking lot up that ramp that lots of people use. This was a really bad location to do this because people wheel bikes and coolers and strollers up that ramp. That this happened with no input from OB at all is ridiculous. This is similar to taking up precious parking availability in the parking lot by the lifeguard tower with electric charging stations without asking. OB would probably welcome the bikes if there had been some input on where to lace these things.


Peter from South O February 25, 2018 at 9:59 am

Since there seem to be no rules, why not just move them?


Chris February 23, 2018 at 5:06 pm

I first heard about Lime bikes coming to SD back in September and have seen several articles about them since then. I’m a bit surprised so many didnt know they were coming. Also the yellow “OSO” bikes.


nostalgic February 23, 2018 at 5:09 pm

The use of dedicated parkland for commercial purposes is quite a stretch. The use to rent bicycles is not a recreational use of the land itself, although the use of the bicycles may be. The city ignores the city charter in many cases.


dajohn February 24, 2018 at 5:04 pm

the moral of the story, people will complain about anything…… even cheaper, environmentally friendly bike rentals in what is supposed to be the most “progressive” neighborhood in SD.

It’s might not be perfect, but in the grand scheme of things it’s gotta be less offensive than the OB weed bus is.

Also, who decided? The city attorney did, read the recent news.


Geoff Page February 26, 2018 at 11:13 am

How about providing a link?


dajohn February 26, 2018 at 8:32 pm

“San Diego City Attorney Memo Opens Door To ‘Dockless’ Bike Sharing”



dajohn February 26, 2018 at 8:41 pm

“Alvarez expressed his excitement with the memo over Twitter, saying “Who’s ready for more bikes?!?!”

Not ocean beach apparently, sadly


Geoff Page February 27, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Thanks for the link. It looks like the memo said that there would not be a conflict with the Decobike arrangement. But, who decided to allow them? It looks like this was a deal with the city maybe?


Michael February 27, 2018 at 9:04 am

Exactly. My father visited this weekend and we were able to take an electric bike to PB for $4. It’s a great idea. I always leave them by a bike rack but maybe some public education on the issue is necessary.

Why does the OB attitude have to be “they never asked us!” instead of “let’s make this better”?


Geoff Page February 27, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Because OB has been watching out for itself for many, many years. Not everyone agrees it makes things better as you can see. There is a bike shop in OB already that rents electric bikes, I’m guessing they don’t think this is better.


Blair February 24, 2018 at 9:59 pm

I am a handicapped home owner in Point Loma and this morning a lime bike was left in my walkway blocking my access to the sidewalk. My property is private property. I oppose this business From Northern California flooding San Diego with this invasive sales practice. I will support local businesses who are decent enough to not shove their product in my yard. They are lucky I can’t swing a 2×4 anymore. Come on, elected people. Be real, not ignorant.


Chris February 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Perhaps instead of having the whole company leave OB, how about better policies to prevent riders from leaving the bikes on private property?


Peter from South O February 27, 2018 at 3:08 am

Is there a phone number on the bikes? Call it and demand that the bike be removed in (set an annoyingly short deadline) . . . make them spend their money to come out and retrieve it. Resist the urge to agree with them if they say “just put it out on the sidewalk”. Make them come out and get the darned thing.

If they don’t come out, well, guess y’all have some scrap metal to sell!

Just about as appropriate as grocery carts abandoned on your property. BUT . . . that industry responded to public backlash long ago . . . call the store listed on the handle and within the same day a truck shows up.

Personally, if my guests want to rent bikes I bring them to one of our neighborhood’s small bike shops.


Cleansandiego February 24, 2018 at 10:30 pm

The definition of littering- look it up. Isn’t there a fee for littering our streets and public walkways? Who in San Diego is getting a kickback to not enforce this law? Something stinks…..


Tyler February 25, 2018 at 6:03 am


Honestly the initial rollout was poor but this will help solve bike theft and encourage way more biking! I was downtown last night and there were two bikes just sitting outside the restaurant. We ended up going for an awesome ride around up back to the car since you can leave them anywhere. I would have never done that with the dockstation bikes.


OBKid February 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

They bicycles people. Bicycles.


Who decided? The business did. Since when do you need permission from every board in OB – get over yourselves!


Michael February 27, 2018 at 9:08 am

I’m happy they’re here. My father can’t walk very far but he can ride a bike. When he recently visited, these bikes were great!

It would be one thing if the cost was exorbitant, but they’re cheap to use.


John February 28, 2018 at 2:28 am

Lets just ride them over to PB and leave them there? Sounds like disproportinate number delivered to the beach, I only saw a few around mid city.


Debbie February 28, 2018 at 9:42 am

Maybe eveni n La Jolla along Girard


Debbie February 28, 2018 at 9:43 am

Try again! Maybe ride to La Jolla and leave on Girard?


John March 1, 2018 at 5:44 am

And I think this proves Obecians protest everything. Even enviromentally freindly transportation. And take your recycling center too hippie! Lol :(


Jon Carr March 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

I hope most reasoned readers can draw a distinction between those complaining for complaining sake, or protesting because they like to protest everything, and those who are just concerned about the implementation of the program and the effect (positive and negative) on our community. I think, for example, it’s appropriate, and our duty as a neighborhood to ask our city leaders what steps are being taken to make sure the program works and we don’t become the next Dallas, ahem….

I’m actually looking forward to trying one out, and promise not to leave it in a tree or on your doorstep.


Frank Gormlie March 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Thank you.


Denine Hunt March 1, 2018 at 6:55 pm

I plan on trying out one of the bikes that offers an assist up the hills. I own a bike but some of these OB hills are treacherous for this old gal! It’s also a little bit of a hassle having to double lock/unlock my bike every time I hop off/on to run various errands.

I would agree the rollout of the Lime Bikes was far from ideal but in the long haul they might just help ameliorate the traffic problems that exist in OB.

I am a bit surprised by the extreme angst some folks have expressed and sure hope things settle down and we give this affordable bike sharing option a shot.


Johnny O April 3, 2018 at 8:26 am

What about our current bike shops located in each beach town? Most of which are small family owned operations that pay taxes, employ locals and provide real service. Between online sales and now cheap bike rentals on every corner good luck finding a local shop to service your bikes 3-5 years from now.


Daniel June 17, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Bike shops offer long term rentals that are way cheaper than telephone application rentals. I’m sure bike shops will still be around. Also, there are a lot of people living in SD that will need their bikes serviced. I’m sure the industry will be fine in the long run.


Nancy Joey Leigh April 3, 2018 at 6:51 pm

No problem with the concept but keep them OFF the sidewalks.


Daniel June 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Upon research it shows that tourism employs 194,000 San Diegans and brings in 10.8 billion dollars annually (https://www.sandiego.org/about/industry-research.aspx). With the installion of limebike and other bike rental companies; this allows for tourists who cannot bring their own bikes to be able to enjoy San Diego. To be annoyed by a bike company that adds to San Diego’s excellent vacation destination is absoulutely asinine.


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