Hire Bikes are a wonderful option for city dwellers in the UK whose commutes are fairly short. As technology has developed, hiring a bike from a bike shop has diminished in favour of the remote “docks” where many bicycles will be locked and then hired. However, thanks to moving locking and unlocking technology onto the bike itself, dockless hire bikes have been making their debut.
Benefits of the Dockless Hire Bikes
Find a Bike Anywhere via GPS: According to the BBC, dockless hire bikes are simply locked wherever the previous user stopped needing them, but because of a GPS tracking device, the next user can locate the bike via a smartphone app. Rather than being confined to the locations of different bike docks, bikes can move organically through the city, being left in ever more convenient locations.
The Convenience of Renting at Will: Early docked hire bikes had requirements to keep one’s costs low, often the need to “re-dock” the bike every 30 minutes. Now, with GPS tracking and locking features built into the bike, companies have fewer fears about theft or misplacement of a bike. This means that they can offer features such as renting for an hour, a day, or a week, all based on your own needs. This convenience would mean most cyclists are willing to pay a little more, but the prices on dockless hires actually tend to be lower.
Passing Savings to Cyclists: The companies who are most invested in dockless systems are seeing major savings over their docked counterparts: reports from the BBC say that it often costs between £2,200 and £3,700 to put a new bike on the streets, while the new dockless system costs about £75 per bike at current levels of scale. These cost savings can be passed on to the cyclists, who rejoice at the cheap ability to rent a bike anywhere.
Greater Competition Also Adds Access: The companies that are offering dockless hire bikes in London have had great success, but adding more hire bike companies actually makes them all more successful, given that there is greater and greater likelihood that at least one bike is close when you need it. This requires using multiple apps to check, but a guide to hire bikes and apps helps cyclists choose the kind of bike they want to pedal as well as finding exactly which ones are nearby via sleek and user-friendly apps.
The Companies are Adding Bikes All Over the UK: Leeds and Manchester are some of the most recent cities to receive an influx of dockless hire bikes from the popular brands Ofo and Mobike, according to the Guardian. In other towns and cities, smaller dockless systems are being implemented, since having an app and the right kind of bike locking system are the main prerequisites to starting such a company. The latest technology is often deployed and established first in London, but these hire bikes seem to be here to stay, given their spread to many other cities around the UK.
Clearly, these benefits have contributed to the explosive growth of the dockless hire bike industry in UK cities and beyond. It is becoming easier than ever to get some exercise, see the city, and move quickly from point A to point B, all without being stuck with a personal bike to care for. More bikes on the streets also means vehicle drivers and cyclists giving each other more respect as they move through the city, increasing safety for everyone involved. Lastly, the resulting lack of congestion on our roads when more people turn to biking is lowering pollution, conserving fossil fuels, and clearing the streets of traffic, all at the same time.