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Published on September 13th, 2009 | by darraghdoyle


The Dublin Bike Scheme – the second best thing to happen to the city recently?

I have to tell you – I love the idea of the new Dublin bike scheme, launched today. They’re now available on the streets of Dublin and I’ve already seen people around on them this morning.

The connection to pop culture here? No, not tenuous. I could put in something like “You can get to your events faster” just to fill criteria, but I think this goes deeper.

Suddenly we have introduced another factor to make our Capital City more modern, cosmopolitan and even that bit more colourful. A change in culture – “You don’t need to bus it or taxi it, just bike it” has been kicked off.

If Dublin, as a city, can adopt these bikes by (a) using them properly, (b) not vandalising them and (c)  promoting their use, we could see, like The Luas, like The Spire and many more features, the bikes being adopted into the street art, the iconography and the imagery of the city.

It’d be nice to think that their adoption could be a signal to any other city thinking of introducing them that if they worked here, they’d work there. It’d be nice to see them become part of someone’s thoughts when they decide to go to town, that they’ll take one, use one and return it.

The facitilies, the infrastructure and the elements of any environment that make it move, make it easy to get around in and make people happy to be there all influence the culture, the art and even the psyche of a city. You wait. There’s hopping on the Jerry Lee as a phrase. How long till the bikes get their own moniker?

The city needs this to go well. The LUAS, an introduction I’d think was possibly the best thing to happen to Dublin in recent years is a resounding success and if we can keep the bikes safe from harm through respect for the property, I think it could change the city for the better by giving happier, healthier and more careful people.

How? Well, cyclists will need to be careful of cars and pedestrians, and vice versa. Exercise makes people happier. People will have fun. It night reduce the crowds on the pavements and even the amount of cars in the city centre. You never know!

The bikes themselves are quite stylish (for public bikes), distinctive in their grey and blue:

According to the (pretty poor) website they’ve all been designed as follows:

  • Unisex bikes suitable for all, 14 years and up
  • Simple and quick three gear change
  • Adjustable cushioned saddle
  • Large capacity durable front basket
  • Non-slip handlebars
  • Anti-splash front and rear mud guards

and with safety in mind:

  • Automatic rear and front lights, operating day and night
  • Reflective strips on wheels and pedals
  • Front and rear brakes integrated in wheel hubs
  • Chain guard
  • Easy to use bike rest
  • Finger touch bell
  • Anti Theft Lock

The bikes themselves are fitted with three speeds, a bell and instructions on both the anti-theft device, on saddle adjustment and the advice

“Check front and back lighting before departure, day and night. On return, check that the bike is locked and wait for the confirmation beep. Always obey the rules of the road.”

And returning the bike seems to be as simple as making sure it’s in its slot and waiting for the beep, as per the instructions.

And the machine that you have to go to get them is both simple to use and helpful, giving the most basic options and instructions to ensure they’re fairly easy to use, even for people like meself:

Note that you can’t take a bike between 12:30am and 5am. Probably not a bad thing at all at all.

The details on pricing and how it works are very clear as well, even if they do refer to the bikes as “db”s:

So there are a couple of options: The 3 day ticket – details here – which can be bought for €2 and then after half an hour you’re charged as above.

You can also subscribe as a long term card holder for just €10 a year – details on that here – and then it’s just swipe and go. Major pity that LASER or Visa Electron cards aren’t accepted, but guess we can’t have everything!

Nice to see the Rules of the Roads and safety are important as well:

There are 40 bike-stops all over the city – the full list is on the Dublinbikes.ie website – but this map might give you an idea too.

Will they be successful? Will they stay on the streets and out of the Liffey? Will they be stolen? Will the be vandalised? Will, for example, they be safe across from my office (where I hope to use them?) I guess only time will tell. I hope they will. It’s be nice to think they could.

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About the Author

Blogger, event addict and fan of street and performance art. You can contact me directly at darraghdoyle[at]gmail[dot]com or @darraghdoyle on twitter.

4 Responses to The Dublin Bike Scheme – the second best thing to happen to the city recently?

  1. Seamus says:

    Great post, with the photos and explanations, hope it works out well.

  2. Arnie says:

    I fear the worst. I remember a similar scheme in Cambridge — probably the most bike-friendly city in the UK to start with, being totally flat and covered with cycle paths and lanes from one end to the other — when I lived there in the early 90’s, and even there it only lasted a few months before they had to abandon it because half the bikes had been nicked or vandalised.

  3. Kevin says:

    Great post.

    I really hope the scheme works but do fear what Arnie said. Dublin has a large population of scumbags, so stealing the bikes could happen. In fact, I would have said a GPS tracker would be in order for these bikes!

    One other issue is that we have a lot of bikes, but I’d struggle to point out more then one or two bike lanes in the city.

    We need to model our city on Amsterdam. Huge focus on bikes there as well as public transport, while cars are second-class forms of transport (as they should be) until you leave the city centre area.

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