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Do We Really Want A Liveable (and Rideable) City?

Laura Kebby -

Lifestyle

I’m sure many of you came across an article in amongst the cat videos and kookslam montages in your news feed, regarding an elderly gentlemen (if you could call him that, I mean he was old but perhaps not a gentlemen) defacing an O bike. For those not aware of the term (I certainly wasn’t) an O bike is one of those share bikes, you know the ones that are meant to encourage sustainability and the idea of a liveable city. We actually have them in Newcastle, there are the electronic ‘Byko’ bikes in Wickham as well as the more tradition push pedal kind on the foreshore. Warners Bay of course, for those willing to venture out, is also another hotspot for this ever growing trend.

Why aren’t there more bike stations, and greater accessibility to these share bikes that will surely encourage people to explore the city in ways they never thought possible? Well maybe it’s because of the fact that we really don’t want progression, awesomeness and change. People were initially blaming the youths for the destruction of such hubs, now it seems, as opposed to being a generational thing, it’s just some deep seeded hate for progression with a sprinkle of pent up anger.

I for one am all for these bike stations, particularly in summer. What better way to be introduced, or for many of us, reintroduced to the city than on a bike? Furthermore, on a bike that you don’t have to worry about lugging back into your car, or fussing over when you want to stop in and grab a beer. Or even having to worry about any sort of on going bike maintenance, surely I am not alone in this concept being a good thing?

What you do you all think? Do you regularly, or have you ever used the bike stations in town? Would you ever consider using them? Or do you think they will simply be defaced by reckless humans both young and old?

If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live

Comments 4

  1. Hi Laura,

    Glad you like share bikes. So do I, but I hardly ever use them, because I usually have my own with me. It’s a folding bike, and comes with me everywhere.

    Just to clarify your comments, I’d like to make some corrections:

    O-Bikes are not like the other schemes you mentioned, in that they actually don’t have docking stations. That is the crux of the controversy with them. They can be left anywhere, and some people are objecting to that.

    “BYKO” is actually spelled “BYKKO”. They have several installations around the region, in the Central Coast and in Sydney (I believe), which are all based on fixed docking stations. These have not generated the same controversy, as the bikes are locked to the station when not in use, and so aren’t “in the way”.

    The problem with the docking station model is that it is more expensive to deploy, requires council approval and takes up space. Where these schemes are successful elsewhere in the world, they are widely distributed throughout the city, especially near public transport interchanges and popular destinations. Just having one or two locations, as in Newcastle CBD, simply provides no reliable alternative transport for the majority of users.

    Another problem with share bike schemes in Australia is our unique mandatory helmet legislation, which works against the spontaneity of using share bikes. Hopefully with greatly extended safe separated cycleways, this requirement will be relaxed in future.

  2. Share bikes are a fabulous idea, particularly around the Newcastle CBD and foreshore where the terrain is fairly flat. I also have my own bike which I use a lot. It’s a great way to explore and avoid traffic and parking problems. I hardly ever drive my car around Newcastle as I live at Honeysuckle and most places I want to bike to are close and accessible.

    I often look at the hire bike stations and most of the bikes are still there. I think they’re quite expensive to hire and helmets can be an issue. I recently saw two Japanese girls being booked for not wearing helmets.

  3. Check out the problems in Melbourne regarding the o bikes they have recently rescued more than 20 bikes out of the Yarra

  4. The electric Bykko bikes that were in Newcastle west last summer were great and came with helmets! More of these please!

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