So the heyday’s over for Uber’s Jump ebikes in many cities, and there are a lot of articles and photos making the rounds right now about how the bikes are being destroyed in mass quantities. My opinion on this may surprise you, since of course it would be better if they were donated or sold, especially right now during this global pandemic when bikes are being seen as essential and there’s a shortage.
However, as the journalist who wrote this article about the need for sustainable-end-of-life disposal (focused on scooters, but equally applicable to shareable bikes) for Ensia (republished on GreenBiz, SmartsCitiesDrive and elsewhere), I jumped for joy to hear that they were at least recycled responsibly, which at the time I wrote the article would have been a huge step forward for the shareable Light Individual Transport industry in general. (See My 50 Cents Worth for when I went to the recycling facility closest to downtown Atlanta looking for scooters, plus here for more on this topic.)
According to this BBC story from yesterday:
“We explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes,” Uber said in a statement.
“But given many significant issues – including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment – we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them.”
It’s not ideal, but it’s what would have been considered a success a year ago, so let’s keep things in perspective, ok?
Now, how can we do things better and make sure everyone who wants or needs a bike gets one? (A goal is a dream with a deadline. Let’s get this done by September. Who wants to create a BikeMatch app*?)
As for bike education, I offer it free in this class, delivered via text, thanks to your support of my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike. You may also find my Bonus Resources helpful, including quick how-to videos such as this one on a Jump ebike (but could apply to any ebike, so there’s still hope the hole in the bikeshare market will be filled by some other company):
* Below was one of my intended goals when I applied to become the City of Atlanta Chief Bicycle Officer. Here were my other goals.
Develop an app, perhaps in partnership with a university, that includes bikeshare, bike shops, bike co-ops, used-bikes-for-sale or trade, and donated bikes; suggested routes (including multimodal solutions) and available bike parking (such as at retail businesses); upcoming bike-friendly events, meetups, tours, classes, and volunteer opportunities; and more ways to support bike-related and other businesses/organizations while enabling anyone who lives in, works in, or visits Atlanta to access and use a bike.