Special Report: Cycling

What Does Success Look Like for Hamilton Bike Share?

In just a few months since the launch, 7 percent of potential users have already taken out memberships, compared with a realistic but optimistic upper bound of 17 percent, based on the world's most successful bike share.

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published July 06, 2015

Hamilton's bike share system launched just three and a half months ago with 750 bikes and 114 stations over a service area of 45 square kilometres. Despite the cold Spring this year, uptake has been quick and trips and users are still growing rapidly.

Hamilton Bike Share hub station at Hunter Street GO Station
Hamilton Bike Share hub station at Hunter Street GO Station (RTH file photo)

We are now entering the prime bike share season, and the most current figures from Hamilton Bike Share Incorporated (HBSI), the non-profit that locally operates the bike share, show that there are over 5,298 members and up to 1,043 trips per day, typically 700-900 trips. Memberships and trips are still growing rapidly.

Disclosure: I am a member of the HBSI Board of Directors. These are my personal opinions, not those of the Board or HBSI.

This seems like very quick growth, considering that some Hamiltonians felt there would be no interest at all in a bike share system here.

Chart: total Hamilton Bike Share trips as of July 2, 2015
Chart: total Hamilton Bike Share trips as of July 2, 2015

Chart: Hamilton Bike Share total distance travelled (km) as of July 2, 2015
Chart: Hamilton Bike Share total distance travelled (km) as of July 2, 2015

Chart: Hamilton Bike Share trip frequency by weekday and hour as of July 2, 2015
Chart: Hamilton Bike Share trip frequency by weekday and hour as of July 2, 2015

Chart: Hamilton Bike Share total membership cumulative growth as of July 2, 2015
Chart: Hamilton Bike Share total membership cumulative growth as of July 2, 2015

Chart: Hamilton Bike Share trip heat map as of July 2, 2015
Chart: Hamilton Bike Share trip heat map as of July 2, 2015

Nevertheless, skeptics might claim the service isn't popular because membership is still "only" 1 percent of Hamilton's total population.

How Many Potential Users

First of all, comparing the number of members to the total population is clearly misleading (for a start, you have to be 16 or older to be a member), but what is the potential user base? And how many of those potential users could we expect to become members under ideal conditions?

Let's consider the first question: how many potential users are there for the current system?

There are only a few hub stations on the Mountain and five in Dundas and coverage becomes quite sparse in the eastern and northern parts of ward 3, but we can take the main service area as being roughly wards 1-3.

The total population of wards 1-3 is 106,527. Those under 16 are not able to join and many of those 70 and over are not physically able to cycle. So the core demographic for bike share are those residents in wards 1-3 aged 16-69.

According to Statistics Canada, 72 percent of the Hamilton CMA is aged 15-69, so the total number of potential users is roughly 76,699.

With 5,298 members, we can calculate that roughly 7 percent of all potential users have already taken out memberships.

This seems like pretty good uptake in a short time, but how does it compare to the most successful and well-established systems? In other words, how much better could we expect to do?

After all, not everyone will be interested or able to cycle, even under ideal conditions. And others will prefer to use their own bicycles.

Benchmark: Paris Vélib'

One of the oldest, biggest and most successful bike share systems in the world is Paris's Vélib'. It has been running since 2007 and now has 1,220 stations, about 25,000 bikes and 274,000 annual members (in 2014). Users make around 110,000 trips per day, boosted by the large number of tourists who use the system.

Vélib' station in Paris (RTH file photo)
Vélib' station in Paris (RTH file photo)

The Paris system has about 33 times as many bikes as Hamilton's over a service area about three times larger. The system is run by the advertising and street equipment company JCDecaux at no cost to the city (apart from replacing vandalized bikes) in return for exclusive advertising rights.

Paris is in many ways the ideal city for a bike share: it is compact (10 km in diameter), very dense, relatively flat, and most residents do not own a car or have space to store a bicycle. The high population density also means that the system can have a very high density of stations.

The only downsides are that Paris has previously been considered a dangerous place to ride and public transport is an excellent alternative to cycling. However, the city has built many new protected cycle lanes and the increase in cyclists itself has made the city a safer and more comfortable place to ride.

Bike share use in Paris is an upper bound against which we can measure Hamilton's performance.

Comparing Hamilton to Paris

Although there are some stations in the near suburbs, the vast majority of stations and trips are in Paris proper. The population of Paris is 2,244,000 and Vélib has about 1 bike per 97 inhabitants. In comparison, a Hamilton-wide system would need about 5,400 bikes and a ward 1-3 system would need 1,100 bikes to achieve the same level of service.

If we take the population of Paris - slightly over estimating the uptake by excluding the near suburbs - and assume the same 72 percent demographic of potential bike share users, about 17 percent of potential users have taken out memberships.

This analysis shows that Hamilton's system is doing amazingly well in comparison!

In just a few months since the launch, 7 percent of potential users have already taken out memberships compared with a realistic (but optimistic) upper bound of 17 percent, based on the world's most successful bike share that has been operating since 2007!

So, what would a "Paris level" of success look like for Hamilton's bike share, assuming the current service area?

We would need to have around 1,100 bikes, 13,000 members and about 5,200 daily trips. We're already 40 percent of the way there on membership. It will be interesting to see how close we get over the next few years.

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.

88 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 14:04:28

I'm an occasional SoBi user. I have my own bike but I got the $15 monthly membership because I wanted to be able to opportunistically ride a SoBi to/from the downtown GO station. The one-way bike-and-forget trips is what I like -- no need to worry about theft or pigeon poop when parking my bike near Jackson Square or in the area.

It is more convenient than Toronto/Montreal's BIXI type system. I got a membership when people started leaving bikes off-rack near my home, as the nearest rack is 300 meters away. The off-rack parking literally advertises the bike share system presence. I just punch in a password code and off I go.

The bikes are GPS tracked and so unique, so nobody wants to steal them anyway, like they would with my owned bike if I left it overnight while going to Toronto.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 14:07:17 in reply to Comment 112553

I've only done 2 trips so far, not yet worth tracking. Keep tuned. I expect to do about 5-6 spontaneous trips per month, maybe more. Bike one-way, transit the other-way. Leave my car at home occasionally.

I will use SoBi way more than driving to Aldershot once there's more morning GOtrains introduced (preferably all the way to 8:00am). Maybe once the Lewis layover yard and/or Stoney Creek GO is complete. Hopefully.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 14:44:40

According to the Toronto Star, Hamilton's bike share is arguably already doing better than Toronto's BIXI. They apparently have 4000 "active users" for 1000 bikes.

(And Metrolinx has just decided to give them an extra $4.9 million, three times the total Metrolinx funding to Hamilton, to double the size of the system!)

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/transpor...

Thanks to Brendan Simons for pointing this out on twitter.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By ryanwestdale (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 14:44:56

I think the SoBi system is great, and have enjoyed being a member. I will continue to look for ways to help get our bike lane infrastructure improved. We can get to the 17% only with major improvements in the lanes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 14:56:32

Another metric is daily bike trips ratio -- trips per bike per day.

We're hovering at approximately 1.0 to 1.5 rides per bike per day. Montreal, New York City and Paris still does better than Hamilton. Paris averages 5 bike rides per bike. Montreal does approximately 3-4.

Nontheless, this is impressive considering Toronto hasn't achieved as good ratios as quickly as Hamilton has.

While driving, we don't see SoBi's often, but no wonder -- SoBi users avoid 1-way expressways like Main/King. I take side streets such as Stinson and Hunter, and it really shows up in the heat map!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 15:18:08 in reply to Comment 112558

Vélib is very popular with tourists and promoted by the city to tourists, which likely accounts for the very high daily ridership in Paris. Montreal is probably a more realistic target (although they do probably also have more tourists than Hamilton ;).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Susie (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 15:36:53

I picked up a pay-as-you-go membership after launch and I'm a big fan. $1 to park outside of a hub is trivial when I've only had to do that a handful of times (eg. closer to home very late at night). Way more flexible than Bixi with better rates.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 15:38:59 in reply to Comment 112557

Personally, I'm frankly surprised we have a superior bikeshare system than Toronto. Genuinely.

A little nyah nyah to my fellow Torontoian friends.

The off-dock parking is priceless. Punch password to start rental. Park anywhere to end your rental. Reasonable flat monthly fee if you don't go into overages. Just exactly what is needed to make Hammer's system bigger, cheaper, more efficient, more popular, and lower-maintenance than Toronto's system. I feel sorry for BIXI as they invented a real Canadian export but financially messed things up over there, and Toronto's stuck in a conundrum over replacement docking station suppliers.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 15:40:38 in reply to Comment 112560

And it falls to only 34 cents if you take the same bike the next morning, and return it back to a docking station (66 cent credit). Like daily commutes to Hamilton GO station.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 15:45:10 in reply to Comment 112562

If you plan to commute by SoBi daily, and you don't have a station near you...

...it effectively ends up costing only $1.36 per week to park the bike in front of your home, assuming you park the bike the night before, then use it again tomorrow morning. Until somebody else on your street decides to sign up for SoBi and takes that bike. :D

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SOBI question (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 15:56:43

Is there anything stopping a user from taking the SOBI bike into your private residence and "locking" it (in order to end the ride), thereby ensuring it's available to you the next morning and not used by another subscriber?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 16:15:33 in reply to Comment 112565

The bike must always be publicly accessible unless you are actually using it or have it on hold (limited to 60 minutes). It's a bike share system, not a bike rental system.

Since the bikes all have GPS it would be pretty obvious to other users and to SoBi staff if you were not leaving it accessible on the street or in a hub.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-07-06 16:16:18

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 17:03:30 in reply to Comment 112565

They come by to pick up the bikes and relocate them.

Being GPS tracked, they also know when a bike is being repeatedly locked off-dock in one location. The system can also know when the battery is getting weak in the GPS (due to lack of sunlight on solar, due to indoor storage) so they can come get the bike before battery dies. The battery supposedly lasts many days (possibly weeks?). The system can also know when the signal is weak (e.g. indoors) so they can follow the GPS trace. Modern GPS while locked, averaged in a presumed stationary outdoor location, can have better-than-1-meter accuracy (normally 3 meters, but averaging a stationary position improves this). So they can eventually figure out if the bike is parked in an inaccessible location, and then notify the last user (you).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SOBI (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 17:18:47

How would it be obvious? I guess the solar system would also be affected if parked outside overnight - due to lack of light.
My understanding of GPS is that it would not identify if the object is indoors or not - just the area it is located....

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 17:27:06 in reply to Comment 112570

There's enough battery capacity to store several days of lack of solar, so there's plenty of time.

They know the "GPS route" -- the bicycle draws a line on a specially custom version of Google Map (companies have access to the mapping API for this sort of thing) -- and they know the last person who entered a code. If the line of the bike route disappears into a building pictured on Google Satellite Maps, they know it probably entered the door of that building.

So because:
- They can draw the line of the bike route; and
- They know the last user who moved the bike

They can email/call you & tell you to relocate the bike back into a publicly accessible location. They are very friendly about these sort of things as not everyone realizes it, but it's happened before.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2015 at 17:35:40 in reply to Comment 112570

You have to enter a personal password on the keypad built into the back of the bike (attached to your personal account) to unlock the bike & unlock the wheels. To allow you to bike on it. Once you do it, they know it's you who's riding the bike and the central computer system keeps track of where the bike went. It transmits your location while you ride it, so they know when the GPS signal disappears, and they can go to the location where the GPS signal disappeared (e.g. your front door).

The built-in solar rechargeable battery keeps the bike GPS alive for a long time, several days. The bikes have built-in bona-fide cellphone data transmitters (3G/LTE) that transmits data both ways, so it has real-time location awareness and remote control of the bike's speaker (I would gander that it can say custom messages too). If the bike moves without being unlocked first with a password, an alarm probably goes off.

This is explained in SoBi's Privacy Policy, which you agree to, when you become a member: https://app.socialbicycles.com/privacy Your location is tracked while riding a SoBi bike, but only to them.

Only unused bikes (bikes available for use) shows up on the public SoBi Map at https://hamilton.socialbicycles.com/#map When you park your SoBi bike, your bike shows up automatically again on this public map for the next SoBi member to take. If you park your bike in the backyard, somebody from the next street over, who's a SoBi member, may complain they can't access the bike. If you attempt to park the bike where there is no GPS signal, it triggers a check by the roving SoBi crews or alerts the bike's electronic speaker if it's in an invalid location.

Needless to say, it makes them very theft resistant. You literally can abandon them and thieves aren't interested in them. Makes it a very safe bikeshare system....nobody wants to steal your bike.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-06 17:58:29

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Core-B (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 18:56:27 in reply to Comment 112553

Not at all programerish. Hope the app is near the top in your bucket.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By thereality (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 19:34:45

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By OK! (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 20:43:29 in reply to Comment 112576

I'd happily pay my $10 a year bike registration to cover my "wear and tear" of the roads if you happily pay $4000 a year for the "wear and tear" your car causes. The current deal where I pay part of your costs doesn't seem fair, now that you mention it.

Also, very interested in your ideas on how to enforce the law at stop signs. Its a real problem! https://youtu.be/RdvqXSnJ31I

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 21:54:06 in reply to Comment 112556

interesting tidbit in that article about adding more bikes in Hamilton by 2017.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 21:56:27 in reply to Comment 112576

I'll gladly pay for the 'wear and tear' caused by my bike tires when you start paying the full wear and tear caused by your car. Pretty sure folks on bikes are responsible for paths needing to be repaved once a century.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 22:32:26 in reply to Comment 112579

Don't forget the costs of providing police, fire and ambulance services to car drivers. Been a while since I saw a bike catch on fire...

And the costs of car-dependent sprawl. It costs the City of Halifax over twice as much to provide municipal services to the suburbs vs. urban area.

Or the health-car costs of treating people poisoned by motor vehicle operators. I see that this is $2.2 billion in Toronto every year.

And let's not forget the $13.7 billion dollars spent by the governments of Canada and Ontario bailing out GM and Chrysler. Note how that's $13.7 billion in US dollars.

And the $34 billion and rising spent on military intervention in the Middle East. And the Government of Canada is getting increasingly ingenious about ways to dump health-care costs for wounded veterans onto the provinces.

I estimate that each car driver receives over $10,000 per year in subsidies from the hard-working taxpayer. I also estimate that there would be a lot less car driving if car drivers had to pay their own way, instead of reaching into my pocket and helping themselves to a heaping pile of my money.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-07-06 22:36:18

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mutual exclusivity (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 23:18:11 in reply to Comment 112576

Many (most?) People who ride bikes also pay taxes and own cars (or pay for car travel through rentals or fares). The only difference is they sometimes choose to cycle (when a bike is a more appropriate tool for a specific trip). As opposed to driving for every task no matter how trivial. I guess they justst aren't as selfish and thoughtless as those drivers who take a car for every single trip!?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Red Hillman (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2015 at 23:36:09

Please expand to at least Parkdale!!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By No Cars (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 07:19:55 in reply to Comment 112584

If there were no cars we would still need the fire and police and we would have the taxes and fees we receive from the cars so we would all have to pay more taxes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By No Cars (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 07:20:56 in reply to Comment 112588

forgot the word "not."

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 08:19:44 in reply to Comment 112585

I own a house, own a car, and am a SoBi member.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 08:21:03 in reply to Comment 112557

agreed. It's kinda shocking how well Sobi has done considering I still don't know of anywhere in Hamilton where 2 bike lanes connect.
Imagine what Sobi's numbers would look like, and Hamiltons walking/cycling mode share, if we had a protected bike lane network like Montreal.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 09:23:14 in reply to Comment 112585

I agree with this. I specifically agree with the point that we all pay all the taxes.

Dividing biking arguments into us v. them is silly as we are almost all both.

However, as bikes become more prevalent they should be registered if used on a road so that they can be traced by the police and there should be some form of insurance available to cover off negligence claims. Most homeowners policies will respond so people who have homeowners insurance are almost always covered. But for those who do not have that coverage, they should get some form of coverage.

We should also carry ID when biking (as required for cars, boats, atv's etc) so that if we are injured the police can identify us and report the injury to our next of kin etc.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-07-07 09:28:41

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Curiosity (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 09:32:28

Any plans for these bikes to be integrated with presto? So that one could tap on and off, as well as fare integration with bixie bike system in Toronto?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highasageorgiapine (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 09:50:23

interesting article on the NY times today about their bike share program, and the struggles they are experiencing with recruiting women riders. as mentioned in that article, and in previous articles here, women riders are important as a bellwether for determining the accessibility and perceived safety of cycling in a given area. any data for this in hamilton?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 09:59:26 in reply to Comment 112596

The Montreal/Toronto system is similar to the New York City systems (they use the same design), and they theoretically can do fare integration. However, so far, they have not.

Hamilton's system is incompatible with the Montreal/Toronto/New York City system. So it doesn't lend well to easy transit integration. Presto would be nice, but not if it adds $1000 per bike.

Hamilton's lower-cost system don't need cards or fobs at all. You find any unused bike. Anywhere, either visually or via phone map. Then you just punch in a 6-digit membership number and a 4-digit PIN and the bike electronically unlocks. So it's just like dialing a phone number on the bike's back pad, and voilà.

To get your membership number (pay per use, or monthly membership, or annual membership), you sign up at http://hamilton.socialbicycles.com and it's linked to your credit card. Then you're done, you can grab any bike right after the one-time online signup process.

There is from time to time, a limited quanitity of free memberships available for low-income people ("Everyone Rides" program). Whenever they are available, there's an approval verification waiting period involved.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-07 10:07:58

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 10:54:40 in reply to Comment 112588

The taxes and fees we receive from cars do not begin to cover the cost of building and maintaining road infrastructure, let alone anything else. If there were no cars, not only would our road costs be greatly reduced, our fire and policing costs would be reduced as well, resulting in less taxes, not more.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 10:55:50 in reply to Comment 112594

We should also carry ID when biking

... and while roller blading? walking on a snowy sidewalk? sitting on a park bench?

"Papers, please!"

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By sminkster (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 12:37:38

These are really encouraging usage numbers! I'm especially pleased by the membership growth chart, and I'm interested to see at what point it reaches saturation and starts to level off.

My question – and the data seems conspicuously absent – is, is SOBI financially sustainable at current membership/usage levels?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 13:08:36

I am pretty curious about the operating cost differences of the BIXI-type systems (Toronto, Montreal, New York City) versus the SocialBicycles systems.

I think the SocialBicycles-type systems (dumb stations; smart bikes) is actually a superior model for Hamilton over the BIXI-type systems (smart stations; dumb bikes). Every bike is GPS tracked, which gives excellent bike traffic statistics for expansion, and makes possible the off-hub parking. Off-hub parking is a good fit for Hamilton with plenty of spare places to park a bike, unlike space-limited downtown Toronto, and allowing fewer bikes to service a larger area.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jorvay (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 13:40:04 in reply to Comment 112610

When the founder of the company that supplies the SOBI bikes spoke at a conference earlier this year, he mentioned the per-bike implementation cost being less than half of a Bixi-style system. Beyond that, I'm not sure about ongoing maintenance and operations but I'm betting they'd have similar operating costs. The GPS systems probably reduce lost bike issues though.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Carded In Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 14:20:17 in reply to Comment 112602

Actually this is legal requirement under the HTA (highway traffic act). Almost had a leg broken by a hamilton Police officer when I asked why he wanted to see my ID.

for your sake i hope you don't meet the same one!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 14:40:47 in reply to Comment 112614

Actually this is legal requirement under the HTA (highway traffic act). Almost had a leg broken by a hamilton Police officer when I asked why he wanted to see my ID.

!!

Really? * google google google *

Well, almost: it appears that one is required to identify oneself, but that simply stating one's name and address is sufficient. From the HTA section H8 218 ...

Cyclist to identify self 218. (1) A police officer who finds any person contravening this Act or any municipal by-law regulating traffic while in charge of a bicycle may require that person to stop and to provide identification of himself or herself. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (1).

Idem (2) Every person who is required to stop, by a police officer acting under subsection (1), shall stop and identify himself or herself to the police officer. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (2).

Idem (3) For the purposes of this section, giving one’s correct name and address is sufficient identification. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (3).

Comment edited by moylek on 2015-07-07 14:42:23

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By knocked out (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 14:54:55 in reply to Comment 112618

What if you have been knocked out or run over by a car. It is a lot easier for everyone if you have id on you.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 14:57:34 in reply to Comment 112620

What if you have been knocked out or run over by a car. It is a lot easier for everyone if you have id on you.

Granted. I carry id when biking about as often as I carry id while walking: sometimes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Itsnot physics (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 15:00:58 in reply to Comment 112597

Accidents can be caused by cyclists without the cycle directly causing damage. The physics has nothing to do with it.

Cars are registered so police can give drivers tickets for infractions and to enforce other laws in addition to holding owners responsible. Same for bikes. Its a lot easier for the police if you have identification and if a bike is registered. Shouldn't cost that much. Could be done on purchase.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By metoo2 (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 15:04:10 in reply to Comment 112621

I always carry ID

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By righton (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 15:12:50 in reply to Comment 112601

The world would be far better without cars.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Nofees (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 15:24:41 in reply to Comment 112597

There is no fee for registering a pleasure craft in Canada.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Welcome (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 15:31:49

What a beautiful rabbit hole.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 16:10:31 in reply to Comment 112622

But accidents can also be caused by pedestrians ... who can also be ticketed. But pedestrians do not have to be licensed or carry id.

And we've already established that cyclists must identify themselves to police.

But in Canada there is no obligation to carry identity cards at all times, unlike many other countries.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-07-07 16:12:03

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 16:42:26 in reply to Comment 112628

Generally I agree with you. When I was forced to get a pleasure craft license I hated it. I think I have a right to travel on the water (it is not a privilege like on a roadway.) I think the police have no business asking for your id absent probable cause. (That applies in every situation that I can imagine - police are our employees there to serve us.)

But if we really want to ramp up cycling, and cars and bikes interact much more frequently, for self protection as much as anything carrying id is a must.

In a world absent cars, I am not sure that registering bikes would be all that important. In a world where bikes and cars did not interact I don't think it would be important either. But in a world where they interact a lot it makes sense to me.

On our roads, we have a first party no fault system. That means that if you are injured by a car as a cyclist or a pedestrian, unless you have your own insurance, you are subject to the insurance of the car you are involved with. That places all of the control in the hands of the car's insurer. I would much rather control that myself. I would like to set the terms of the contract for insurance that I carry and not rely on what, if any, insurance the car driver carries.

It is not about punishing cyclists. It's about being proactive in the world in which we are forced to live.

A responsible parent would never set out on the roadways, leaving children at home, without carrying identification and ensuring that if they are killed or maimed, whether through the driver's fault or not, that they were not properly covered.

One of my friends was killed last year leaving two young kids at home. The driver was not to blame for his death (for that matter it doesn't even matter if a car was involved.) I can't imagine what his kids would have gone through if he was not insured. Luckily a car was involved and so his auto policy responded. But if he had not had an auto policy, or if a car was not involved, it would have added greatly to the tragedy.

In addition, under most auto policies there is an unidentified/underinsured rider called the family endorsement. So if you are injured by a hit and run driver, or a driver carrying inadequate insurance, you are covered. When I was a teen one of my friends was killed riding home at night either by a driver who fled or did not know he knocked him down into a culvert. He had no coverage. If he had had dependents it would have been an even more obscene tragedy.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-07-07 16:58:48

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Carded in hamton (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 17:25:11 in reply to Comment 112618

It doesnt matter what you or I think. It only matter what the officer on the scene thinks.
By the time their steroid adled minds react it does not matter what is right or wrong in the eyes of the law you or I

My tickets for failing to present identification are public record... Ill gladly help you search them if needed.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:11:57 in reply to Comment 112582

Following that faulty logic...

Take a stroll down in behind Pleasant Valley off the rail trail in Dundas. Bikers have destroyed the paths, the vegetation, and the feel of the foot paths over the past 15 years. This is due to their inability to dismount and walk around tree stumps, rocks, hikers, etc.

Will they be paying to repair the greenspace ruined in the name of biking?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:25:45 in reply to Comment 112632

Will they be paying to repair the greenspace ruined in the name of biking?

Blaming on-street commuter cyclists for the damage done by some irresponsible mountain bikers is like blaming 403 commuters for the damage which off-roaders do to the Lake Huron sand dunes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:25:49 in reply to Comment 112618

In other words, anyone who is not breaking any law has no requirement whatsoever to identify himself to a police officer while riding a bike.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:27:45 in reply to Comment 112630

My tickets for failing to present identification are public record... Ill gladly help you search them if needed.

I'm horrified, if not shocked. I would love to see the public record, and then to ask some HPS contacts how the devil this happens.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:27:48 in reply to Comment 112614

Sounds like criminal assault to me. Did you make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:29:31 in reply to Comment 112628

Cyclists DO NOT have to identify themselves to police unless they are breaking a law. Please see the excerpt from the Highway Traffic Act quoted above.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:33:29 in reply to Comment 112599

The Hamilton SoBi system did an experimental trial with Presto. It works, but they would need an agreement with Presto to deduct the money from people's Presto cards and forward it to SoBi.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:38:32 in reply to Comment 112608

"... is SOBI financially sustainable at current membership/usage levels?"

So far, it looks like the health benefits alone are paying back the provincial government's investment through Metrolinx. Please see the methodology on page 24 entitled, "Quantifying the health benefits of active transportation in Toronto" of that city's Medical Officer of Health's report, The Road to Health.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-07-07 18:39:13

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:40:55 in reply to Comment 112611

SoBi is a more advanced system that uses technology that was not yet developed when the BIXI system used by Montreal and Toronto was deployed.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Carded In Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 18:43:04 in reply to Comment 112636

No considering the officer in question had the same surname as a major land owner and festival promoter in downtown Hamilton. I decided NOT to make waves.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 19:02:15 in reply to Comment 112637

That's what I meant.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Carded In Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 19:16:05 in reply to Comment 112620

Make no mistake I had ID on me and was willing to provide it ... I simply asked why.They puled my wallet out of my pocket once they had me immobilized and handcuffed.

This is standard and predictable behaviour by police is it not ?
I grew up Toronto so maybe I expect less

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By old codger (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 19:19:24 in reply to Comment 112629

Back in the day Hamilton tried a bike licensing system. They were yellow plastic that you got though the police department and stuck them on the back of the bike. We were encouraged to get them through the Elmer the Safety Elephant program and you got prizes if you took the bike safety course they ran at the Centre Mall. All good fun and I was pretty proud of mine.

My Dad would not let me ride on a road unless I got the license. (I don't think he liked me riding on the road at all anyway and probably hoped it would stop me from getting one.)

The side benefit was that if your bike was registered and it was stolen, if police found it you got it back. This happened to me and I had my bike saved from the police auction that way.

I think it died because no one used it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By i think (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2015 at 19:53:38 in reply to Comment 112642

I think he is saying that cars and bikes are dangerous. Insurance is a good idea. You likely can't have a proper insurance system without registration.

Not bad ideas but don't see why they should be mandatory.

Toronto had a system from 1935 until 1957 but ended it because without computers it was too cumbersome to run and cyclists didn't use it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 01:40:05 in reply to Comment 112644

I call it assault.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-07-08 01:40:21

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 01:44:26 in reply to Comment 112646

Even with computers, the City of Toronto concluded it was not worth it. From the official City of Toronto website at:

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/conten...

Is the creation of the major bureaucracy that licensing would require worth it? The studies have concluded that licensing is not worth it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 01:55:09 in reply to Comment 112638

And I have to add that the Dutch public transit chip card also works for their OV-Fiets bicycle rental system. For a video of this, see:

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2015/...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 08:53:20 in reply to Comment 112611

I would presume bike rebalancing costs are lower, because full stations aren't a disaster -- just cram the bike onto it, or lock onto a nearby tree or pole. Full stations will often empty at the opposite peak, so you don't bother rebalancing those.

They only need to focus on empty stations, and epidemically-overflowing stations.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 08:56:54 in reply to Comment 112655

Technically, it could be possible to offer a credit for returning a bike to an empty or low-bikes station, that is generous to a member (e.g. possibly as high as earning a free month with rebalancing just three or four bikes) but cheap compared to a bike rebalancing crew.

So in theory, you might be able to get away with no paid bike rebalancing crew at all!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 09:27:54 in reply to Comment 112646

Bike registration systems were aimed at making it easier to recover stolen bikes, not about making it easier to ticket cyclists or raise revenue to fund roads. For example, students at Cambridge are required to register their bikes with their college and paint the license number on the rear mudguard or frame. This is to make it easier to recover stolen bikes (which is a huge problem) and figure out which bikes have been abandoned when students leave.

I guess those pushing for registration and accountability should love SoBi because, just like a rental car, all the bikes are identified clearly with registration numbers and the system tracks all users (like a rental car).

Maybe we should require all motorists to have GPS in their cars so police can easily and automatically issue speeding tickets?

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-07-08 09:29:41

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 11:29:39 in reply to Comment 112598

Hamilton's bike share system has a 50:50 split between male and female members, which is another significant accomplishment that shows we are doing well compared with other systems.

This is an especially good result considering the rather sparse and disconnected state of Hamilton's on-street bike lanes, which are mostly non-protected.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 13:32:32 in reply to Comment 112659

I don't care at all about raising revenue to fund roads from bikes. And traffic offense accountability is a side issue. I care about the impact of a catastrophic injury on a cyclist either by falling off their bike or being hit by a car. It is only my guess but I expect that you will never be able to create a proper insurance regime without some form of registration.

The more people ride and the more they ride on the roads, the more likely there will be serious injuries unless we separate the cars from the bikes like they do in Holland (which is the best solution.)

I have a friend whose daughter goes to Cambridge and she told me she does have to register her bike with her college but only because if there are unidentified bikes in the college racks they are taken away by the college. Parking is at a premium. They are given a sticker that they attach to the bike. She did confirm that thefts are a major problem there and many people find their bikes being resold in local shops.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 14:12:13 in reply to Comment 112668

I didn't raise the university issue. Read the post I was responding to.

Also it isn't about rates its about gross numbers. Rates are for statisticians. If the gross numbers go up, that is where the problem lies.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-07-08 14:16:42

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 08, 2015 at 14:17:29 in reply to Comment 112667

I went to Cambridge myself and it is true that the registration also allows colleges to keep track of who should be using college racks, as well as to recover stolen bikes.

But my point was that the registration has nothing at all to do with ticketing cyclists, insurance or paying for roads.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-07-08 14:23:26

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 08, 2015 at 16:56:53

Press is occuring. And Toronto needs to notice.

"What does success look like for hamilton bike share", July 6th http://raisethehammer.org/article/2645/w...

"Hamilton’s SoBi bike-share hits 5,000 members", July 5th http://www.thespec.com/news-story/570933...

"The surprise success of SoBi Hamilton", July 9th http://www.hamiltonbusiness.com/dir/2015...

Metrolinx is giving Toronto $4.9M to just add only 1000 BIXI bikes to their system. Instead, unprofitable BIXI should be scrapped -- Metrolinx should spend $4.9M on 2000-3000 cheaper SoBi bikes Lakeshore-to-Toronto, instead of adding 1000 expensive BIXI bikes.

  • SoBi costs less than half as much average cost per bike

  • SoBi serves at least 2-3x bigger area per bike

  • SoBi provides more stations more cheaply

  • SoBi reduces bike rebalancing costs (people can dock anywhere, full docks aren't a distaster), crowdsourced bike rebalancing is available

With $4.9 million, Toronto can simply scrap the whole BIXI-derived system (resell to another city that needs a bikeshare expansion), and switch completely to a SoBi system. Based on the fact that Hamilton serves more users in a less-bike-friendly city in a mere 6 months, over a larger area with fewer bikes, the SoBi system has about 2-3x city coverage for the same number of bikes. Now double or triple the bike fleet, and you can have 6-9x coverage.

That means, for the Metrolinx $4.9 million, you can scrap BIXI completely, and have a much larger SoBi system stretching all the way from Liberty Village to the Beaches. Operating costs would even actually go down, especially if crowdsourced bike rebalancing features are activated.

Toronto should scrap BIXI and go cheaper SoBi that gives more for less.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-08 17:02:40

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 09, 2015 at 12:38:40 in reply to Comment 112673

Here's the thing. You are right about New York. The gross numbers have remained stable. But in the Netherlands, their per capita death and serous injuries rate (by population) is about 8 x higher than Canada. The reason for that is that they cycle way way more than we do.

Bottom line is that when our numbers approach the numbers in the Netherlands, our gross numbers will at least match theirs. That will quadruple our death and serious injury claims. Car insurance does not cover anything unless a car is involved.

In real numbers there are about 50 deaths from cycling per year in Canada. If cycling approaches the numbers in the Netherlands, based on their infrastructure, there will be 400 in Canada. That does not include serious injuries which if identical to the Netherlands would be (head and brain injuries there are about 2150 so in Canada it would be about 4300.

The costs could be recovered from the reduction in motor vehicle deaths and injuries as people move away from autos.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-07-09 12:40:19

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By curious (anonymous) | Posted July 09, 2015 at 15:04:53

Is not signalling -as a cyclist- considered breaking the law?

Pretty sure drivers don't have to signal by law either.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By simple Answer (anonymous) | Posted July 09, 2015 at 15:31:24 in reply to Comment 112691

Just buy life insurance. OHIP and ODSP cover other stuff. Car insurance covers cases with cars.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 09, 2015 at 16:01:34 in reply to Comment 112698

Is not signalling -as a cyclist- considered breaking the law? Pretty sure drivers don't have to signal by law either.

If your intended turn will affect another vehicle, then the HTA requires you to signal:

http://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08...

The driver or operator of a vehicle upon a highway before turning to the left or right at any intersection ... shall give a signal plainly visible to the driver or operator of the other vehicle of the intention to make the movement. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 142 (1).

Many years before this act came into being, I was stopped by the police in Stratford for failing to signal a left-hand turn. Twice, in fact. At empty intersections, as I recall. But the cops in Stratford were pretty big on teaching kids on bikes how to obey the rules.

Comment edited by moylek on 2015-07-09 16:25:06

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 10, 2015 at 09:20:21 in reply to Comment 112706

I see no reason to signal a turn when no-one is around. Nor is it necessary for a bike to stop when no-one is around. For that matter, most 4 ways stops are political stops - even for cars. In the absences of cars there would be very few red lights. And get off or dismount then walk your bike is just silly most of the time. Most of the "rules of the road" are there because of cars. The clamoring about ticketing is a red herring.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-07-10 09:22:27

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By baller (anonymous) | Posted July 10, 2015 at 09:28:39 in reply to Comment 112714

Who are you and what have you done with CharlesBall!?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 10, 2015 at 09:48:01 in reply to Comment 112714

I see no reason to signal a turn when no-one is around. Nor is it necessary for a bike to stop when no-one is around.

One reason to do both: habit. Signalling and - on bikes - at least slowing for stop signs needs to be a habit. The alternative to habitually signalling - on two wheels or four - being to habitually not signal.

Another reason to always signal: sometimes someone is, in fact, around. Me, for example, when the slow-moving cyclist I was passing yesterday suddenly veered left without signalling (or looking).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted July 10, 2015 at 10:47:09 in reply to Comment 112715

You have to be honest. I have been riding for over 50 years and I ride a fair bit - over 100k a week end of March to November.) I try and stay off the road and use the paths. I signal when I have to. I roll through nearly every stop sign when there is no traffic. On Aberdeen and Locke I will come to a stop but will go though that light heading eastbound(not westbound)if there are no cars (and no cops). Who comes to a complete stop on Markland if there is no traffic? Sometimes the light on Dundurn and Aberdeen makes me apoplectic (sitting there stopped when there is no traffic in the other three directions.)

Maybe I am one of those cyclists who gives cyclists a bad name - but I don't think so. I would say in my observation that the vast majority of riders ride like I do.

Like I said, ticketing cyclists for rolling through 4 way stops is a red herring. (We should have 4 way yields anyway.) Ticketing them for blasting through would be justified - but who does that (someone with a death wish maybe.) (I am also probably over insured.)

There are some four ways where you almost always have to stop - like Locke street. But even there you can stay balanced on your bike and technically not stop. If I got a ticket for that and got three points on my drivers license I would be pretty pissed.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-07-10 11:00:17

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:12:50 in reply to Comment 112718

Apparently, Idaho allows this.

It's called the Idaho Stop Law.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop

Stop signs are yield signs for bikes in Idaho.

Bikes are legally allowed to slow down to a minimum-speed type roll, to keep a bicyclist safely balanced, long enough to safely see a clear view of the intersection, before proceeding through.

Like a Yield sign, you are legally obligated to fully stop if necessary, to yield to other traffic. But if the intersection is empty, go ahead, be our guest -- and the traffic cop smiles at you as you wave, legally coasting through a stop sign!

No change in bike injury/death statistics occured.

The only study done, showed the Idaho Stop law made things slightly safer! No tipping over during stop, bikes can stay more visible in center, fewer rear-endings by cars behind, etc.

There are broken legs and broken hips because someone tipped over after stopping a bike, there are rear-endings because a bike stopped in front of a car behind (e.g. preparing to left turn). The Idaho Stop reduces these, outweighing all other risks.

Remainder of bike bad habits are more easily enforceable, since there were far fewer bike-law violations. Many young people respect laws that more match actual behavior. Yield abuse is ticketed, just like for real Yield signs. So no barreling through, buddy!

It's a very good law. It is very clearly and unambiguously spelled out. The law is a maximal combined safety equlibrium for people (cars, peds, bikes).

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-10 12:38:29

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Question (anonymous) | Posted July 15, 2015 at 15:35:50

HOw does the GPS signal know the bike is indoors?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Gps (anonymous) | Posted July 15, 2015 at 15:54:02 in reply to Comment 112768

In many cases there is no satellite reception for GPS indoors. It's a line of sight thing

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 17, 2015 at 23:25:11 in reply to Comment 112768

The GPS "breadcrumb" line on a map would disappear at the entrance to the building.

They'd know which building the bike entered, as a result. The building can, then be searched, if the bike is suspected stolen.

Also, modern GPS phones are so sensitive that they often find a lock inside many smaller residential homes, or the top two floors of an apartment tower, or the window room of an apartment.

New iPhones, in particular, have a super sensitive GPS lock - it's even simultaneously combining data from Russia's GLONASS, WiFi lock, cellphone tower locations, etc. So it may have a location lock without the American GPS system! Incidentially, the chips in the new iPhones are compatible with China's COMPASS and Europe's GALILEO (their clones of GPS), so when those systems become active, there's even more satellites to lock onto simultaneously, some of the systems penetrate buildings better than others. I even get a GPS lock in the basement of my detached house now, with a newer iPhone. With two floors and an attic above! Though my house is wood-frame, not metal-frame.

SoBi have a built-in equivalent of a cellphone too, because it has to transmit data to central server. So it may be a more sensitive GPS too. The bike itself will also still often have cellphone reception, even if GPS reception is lost. So the bike can report that GPS lock got lost, and tell headquarters where the GPS signal disappeared (e.g. the front door of a building).

Due to that, they can also remotely set off an alarm on the SoBi bike itself too! Even if GPS is lost. (Thieves beware!)

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-17 23:46:58

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 17, 2015 at 23:32:19 in reply to Comment 112554

Correction: Things changed. I'm a more frequent SoBi user. I use it twice almost every other day now, leaving my car at home half the time during my GO commutes to Toronto.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-17 23:32:31

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 17, 2015 at 23:50:47 in reply to Comment 112769

Some GPS receivers like new iPhones combine celltower location, GPS, GLONASS, WiFi, all simultaneously. On my iPhone I get a relatively accurate fix even in the basement of my residential house. SoBi uses a mobile-phone GPS receiver so it may be doing the same more-indoor-friendly 'sensitive GPS' fix.

Even when GPS lock is lost, it can still probably use WiFi/celltower location to get an approximate fix, or at least report itself as having lost GPS lock, and send last good GPS fix.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-17 23:52:23

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds