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Questions about rental bikes

Letter to the Editor
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Editor,

As a long time advocate of the inclusion of the bicycle as an integral part of the transportation plan for San Marcos, I am pleased that the city and the university have entered into a partnership to make short term bicycle rental available to citizens and students. The VeoRide bicycles have appeared in the downtown area recently.

In considering this program, I have the following thoughts:

  • The city bans bicycles on city sidewalks. Many occasional riders are reluctant to ride on city streets and choose to ride on sidewalks. Are the sidewalk bans to be lifted, enforcement relaxed or are bicycle riders expected to ride in traffic?
  • The VeoRide bicycles are not equipped with lights as required by law for riding in the dark. What about nighttime riders of the VeoRide bikes?
  • Rider position on the bike is a critical factor for comfort and safety. The seats on the rental bikes are adjustable only with a hex (Allen) wrench of the proper size.
  • The sticker on the bicycle advises the wearing of a helmet. What is the expectation regarding this?
  • The operation of the rental bicycles depends on the use of a smartphone. Area all citizens required to have one?

I did not find a posted cost on the VeoRide I examined. Maybe the cost is available on the app which I did not download.

Apparently it is assumed that everyone knows how to ride a bicycle in traffic which is not the case. As a former bicycle educator having taught bicycling at Texas State and as a teaching participant in the statewide Supercyclist program I can attest that even though most of us can pedal, balance and steer a bicycle, there is a lack of accurate information regarding riding on public streets with motor vehicles present. There is a range of fundamental skills necessary to successfully ride a bicycle in traffic. Most casual riders lack these critical skills.

The expected increase of bicycles on sidewalks is a potential risk for pedestrians who have a legitimate expectation that they can safely walk on city sidewalks without concern for bicycle riders, skateboarders, scooterists etc. The term sideWALK is self-explanatory.

When one rents an automobile, it is required that the renter has a valid driver’s license. While the possession of a license is not a guarantee of a high degree of skill, it does signify that the holder of the license has been exposed to the basic principles of traffic law and at some time has demonstrated the ability to control a motor vehicle on public roads. The bicycle renter has no such requirement and we can expect to see a variety of behaviors form them. As fellow road users, we are thus required to be ever vigilant.

Same roads, same rights, same rules.

Bike friendly,

Gordon L. Sabin San Marcos

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666