Dockless Pedal Bikeshare Loses Traction

Once a darling of investors and urbanists alike, pedal-driven dockless bikeshare is getting eclipsed by e-scooters and e-bikes.

1 minute read

October 12, 2018, 6:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Dockless Bike Share

EQRoy / Shutterstock

"It wasn't much more than a year ago," Angie Schmitt writes, "that dockless bikes — the kind you rent for a half-hour or so to pedal to your destination — were the new tech innovation that were going to transform urban mobility and make millions for their venture capital investors. But cities around the country have already started switching from the heavy bikes to the Next Big Thing: pedal-assist e-bikes and e-scooters."

Micro-mobility firms claim that scooters and their like are simply more popular than traditional bikes. Schmitt lists off a number of cities where dockless pedal bikeshare has all but disappeared lately, or is on the process of doing so.

Some companies cite regulatory pressures as their rationale behind favoring scooters and similar modes. "Many cities put caps on the number of total vehicles a company can provide. And companies are responding by shifting to the more-popular modes."

It should be noted that this apparent die-off only applies to dockless bike share. Its docked cousin is still showing strong annual growth.

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