Tonight – Ocean Beach Is the ‘Battleground’ over Dockless Bikes

by on March 7, 2018 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

Tonight – Wednesday, March 7th – Ocean Beach becomes the focus in the “battle” over dockless bicycles, for representatives of 3 so-called bike-sharing companies will appear at the OB Planning Board. The Board holds their monthly meeting at 6pm in the Community Room of the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

OB – as have other communities around San Diego – has been swamped of late with LimeBikes appearing overnight without warning. Tourists and visitors seem to like them – but what about locals?

Complaints about the lime green bikes have been sharp on OB’s social media and on our site here. One OBcean recently complained that the bicycles had taken up all bike spaces in the bike rack outside Rite-Aid on Sunday night.

On the agenda tonight at the OB Planning Board is a scheduled Action Item with representatives from Lime Bike, Ono Bike and Bird Scooters to field questions from the Board – and the public – with the discussion resulting in possible recommendations from the Board.

San Diego U-T writer, Joshua Emerson Smith, recently wrote how San Diego is the “latest battleground in global war to control ‘dockless’ bike rental market”. He writes:

So-called dockless bike sharing started in China in 2014 as a student project at Peking University in Beijing. The idea is an outgrowth of rental businesses requiring users pick up and return bikes at sidewalk docking stations.

In recent months, the fledgling industry’s top companies — rolling in hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital — have cruised into downtown San Diego to battle for the attention and brand loyalty of urban residents on the go.

Investors in businesses such as the China-based Ofo and Mobike, as well as the Silicon Valley startup LimeBike, are each betting urbanites will get hooked on their particular — albeit very similar — product.

So, the different companies are battling for the minds and souls – and particularly the pocket books and wallets – of San Diegans and our visitors – pushing their brand with the hope of coming out on top.

LimeBikes got in OB first, it seems. And OBceans have been experiencing the same problems with them that Smith outlined:

These bike-sharing companies have lots of challenges, including cycle-cluttered sidewalks, constant maintenance, vandalism, and the need to fetch bikes abandoned in far-flung areas.

Smith from the SDU-T quoted Denny Knox, executive director of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, who told him:

“We find quite a few stacked up together and not necessarily standing either. They look like they’re getting vandalized too.”

Local media have also reported that some residents in Imperial Beach, where LimeBikes were introduced last fall, have not liked the bikes, leaving them in the middle of the street, throwing one off the IB Pier.

And it appears many in China are not that much into them either. Emerson interviewed one San Diegan who recently traveled to Beijing and recounted the situation there for the  bikes:

“They’re just scattered all over the streets. You can’t even walk on the sidewalks. You’re just walking over bikes. So I think there’s a point where you have to draw the line.”

OB residents who have questions about and for these privatized-bike-sharing companies, ought to attend tonight’s meeting.

Go here for the full agenda.





{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan March 7, 2018 at 3:25 pm

I’ve seen that pic before.


obsurfer March 7, 2018 at 9:52 pm

The legality of these bikes confuses although the general idea I like.

How do they legally operate a business with transactions taking place and their place of sales being on public property? No clue myself but its interesting.


Michael March 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm

How does UBER do it? Or the folks selling crystals on Newport, or the bar that has curb/patio seating.

I think the city has a right to make these operators keep pricing affordable in order to make sure the business is operating for the public good as well as a profit. Their benefiting from our sidewalks but if the bikes improve our lives it’s a win win.

I took a scooter from the WF Plaza to Chipoltle for lunch today and it saved me 20 minutes all for $1.20. Seems like a great thing to me.


dajohn March 8, 2018 at 6:27 am

Dude, you just wrote an “article” about how your “local newspaper” is still in the game. This is a straight up opinion piece along with a lot of poor copying from the UT. Also, read that quote about china near the end, it doesn’t say what you imply about Chinese people not liking them, it implies an american from SD went there and had his own american opinion about them. Also, Who is the person Jones that quotes denny knox?

Such a slopy copy and paste nimby click-bait piece. One side of a newspaper article copied selectively to back up your opinion and no 1st hand interviews or anything with any actual local. Real newsy


Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie March 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Got a question for ya. When’s the last time you donated anything to your local newspaper or journal? All articles have hidden biases, we just tend to be more upfront with ours.


Michael March 8, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Thanks for keeping this paper going Frank. We may agree 30% of the time but I’m certainly glad we have a local paper.


Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie March 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Thanks, appreciate it. Sometimes, there just aren’t Republican potholes and Democratic potholes, there’s just potholes.


RB March 8, 2018 at 7:25 am

People like to say that they love to ride bikes.
People like to own a bike (that dusty thing with two flat tires in their garage).
People like to promote bikes as a green alternative to autos.
People like to think painting bike sharrows on local streets is promoting bike riding.
People like to spend tax money providing for bike transportation.
People like to convince others to ride bikes.
But promoting bike riding is really just about liberal guilt as they ride in their cars.

Unfortunately, just like every other bike promoter, these bike rental companies believe what people say in surveys rather than trusting their own eyes. These bike rental companies will not survive. The invisible hand of the ‘Market’ will solve our lime bike problem.


Michael March 8, 2018 at 9:34 am

Do you go outside on the weekends? Bikes are everywhere and are getting more popular with the rise of e-bikes. Go to PB and you’ll see a ton of new electric bikes zipping around.

Also, why do you think there are so many bike shops everywhere if no one is riding?

The fact that the invisible hand has allowed these bike shops to stay in business for years should be all you need to see.


Allie March 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Dajohn sounds like Duhlinda.


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