Doing It Wrong on Bikeshare

Introducing a bike share system like Boston’s own Hubway into a major city will always yield some growing pains. Drivers have to learn to share the road with more cyclists. Riders have to figure out when and where they will find available bikes. Bikeshare companies have to figure out traffic patterns. Indeed, the entire concept of picking up a bike from a station and docking it at another station as an alternative means of public transit is apparently not an instantly intuitive one for some of us.

Need proof? We’ve rounded up some funny photos people have shared on Twitter, either of misuses on Boston’s Hubway or on similar bikeshare programs in other cities, along with explanations for those who don’t instantly grasp the errors. Herein, five DON’Ts:

1. DON’T do this.

WHY? There are many reasons, so bear with us here … Bike shares have their own special docks, and the company will charge you money after 30 minutes of use until you return a bike to one of them. Also you will pay a $1000 fine if the bike is stolen. Also these programs work on the assumption that when members aren’t using the bikes, they are available for other members. Also … okay you get it. The pic comes from Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare program thanks to Twitter user @jaybeas who points out, “bike parked in our office’s garage. A dock is right outside.” #Fail.

2. DON’T do this. 

WHY? This is even worse than the previous offense. As we said, Hubway bikes incur a $1000 cost when stolen. Think how many cabs you could have taken with that kind of money. (Photo credit: Twitter user @ofsevit.)

3. DON’T do this.

WHY? Sigh. See #1 and #2. Starbucks is expensive enough as it is. On the other hand, D.C. might consider installing a station right there given the demand …  (Photo credit: Twitter user @summersgill.

4. DON’T do this.

WHY? Think about it … there you go. If you need to take the bus in addition to a bike, just dock the bike somewhere nearby and get on the bus. That way you won’t exceed the 30 minute free time limit before you start incurring charges and if you’re going somewhere with stations, you can pick up a new bikeshare on the other end.  (Image via @GregBilling.)

5. DON’T do this:

WHY? This one has to be our favorite. It’s not a bikeshare user fail so much as a misappropriation of Hubway property. It comes to us via Pete Wierzbinski on Twitter, who notes, “I’m going to go out on a limb a say this person at South Station doesn’t get @Hubway.” Co-signed.

Of course, these failures are the hilarious exception, not so much the rule. Boston and D.C., by and large, seem to be getting the hang of the program. But with a similar one set to open in New York City this year, we can only imagine the creative photography set to emerge from the Empire State. In fact, we can’t wait.