Have you driven in Seattle recently? Or tried to find a place to park? Driving into the city is an ever more challenging undertaking. Shared, dock-less bicycles may be the final piece of the solution for those who want to just park their cars in favor of alternate transportation.
I saw my first dock-less bicycle technology late this summer while walking in the
south Lake Union area when I wandered past randomly parked neon
colored bikes - lime green, orange, and yellow. Each had a
unique rear wheel lock and digital QR code.
have been around for years, but were inconvenient being limited by
the need to rent (and return) them at established docking stations which were often blocks away from where you wanted to start or finish your ride. This was a major factor in the limited use of the Seattle Pronto bike share program which in turn led to its bankruptcy earlier this year.
Now GPS and wireless wheel locking technology have changed the game for bike sharing.
In a hurry to get to
the bus? Grab a bike. Late for an appointment? Grab a bike. All you need is a smart phone, a dock-less
bike app, and a credit card.
First step - find a bike. The smart phone app points you
to the location of available bikes, usually within a few blocks of
Then take a short walk and find the readily identified neon colored bike.
Finally, scan the individual QR code on the bike with the smart phone camera, and as you provided a credit card when you activated the app, it is remotely unlocked.
You now have a bike to ride to the destination of your choice. When you arrive, park the bike anywhere and re-engage the lock - and no additional hassle to find a docking station.
You will be (painlessly) charge a dollar per half hour of actual use.