Performing a civic duty

Bicycle Network's NSW Public Affairs Manager Bastien Wallace calls on our shared sense of community pride and civic duty to keep share bikes pedalling on the path to success. 

As I walk and cycle the streets of Sydney, I've often taken a moment to fix a share bikes that has tipped over.

While most are stacked neatly, I've also taken the time to haul them out of public gardens and returned helmets dumped on park benches to the bike ready for use. 

While I have my own, well-loved bike, I understanding the important role that share bikes play in our transport mix and the exciting opportunities they present for our cities. 

One clear thing I have noticed is that in the months since share bikes came to NSW, they're certainly getting used and even better, by people of all ages and backgrounds. 

What’s sad though is seeing so many bikes with missing parts, damaged or deliberately vandalised. 

I used to cringe a little inside and wonder whether this was a unique problem that we faced – but similar things have occurred in other places, including Paris.

When it’s possible to reach the bike, find it’s identifying code and call the company, action has been taken within a day or two. 

Share bike operators are also working closely with councils and asking members to park the bikes safely in appropriate places, and incentivise good behaviour. But it's not always the regular riders who are the problem. 

Conor Wynn examined share bike littering behaviour in the Conversation from the perspective of the behaviour choices of users, but it appears it's not the riders that are the problem.

Share bikes aren’t the first piece of communal transport infrastructure to be provided for our use either. 

Shopping centres, hardware and garden centres and supermarkets have provided trolleys to help us get goods to cars. We’ve all seen those end up in strange places from time to time, but mostly they are used appropriately. 

Everyone benefits from more people riding, whether it’s reduced traffic congestion, pollution and public health costs, sparing space on public transport or ensuring that people driving cars see people riding bikes as part of ordinary traffic. 

So please, next time you pass a share bike that's in the way, damaged or been knocked over, take the time to set it right.

Hopefully someone sees you do it and it encourages them to do the same. 

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