urbi goes against the grain

In News by Aleisha Orr

Bike-share may be huge in other parts of the world and growing quickly on the east coast of Australia, with more and more big name foreign companies setting up every month.
The concept is still in its very early days here in Perth, with our trial network in Joodalup the only one of its kind in the west.
And while there are plenty of reasons people might think bike-share is a crazy idea for Perth, we think differently.

The weather
Us sandgropers are known for staying in when it rains, it’s probably because we are spoilt with such good weather most of the year that many of us choose not to leave our homes when the wet stuff comes down.
The West Australian sun can also be pretty harsh, understandably some will not be keen to cycle during those few weeks of summer where we hit temperatures of 40 plus degrees.
With this in mind, why would we choose a form of transport that leaves us at the mercy of the elements?
When the weather is nice in Perth, it’s nice, you’ve probably seen the images on your social media feed of our #Perthect beaches during winter when our Melbourne cousins wouldn’t dare walk barefoot at the beach.
And in the height of Summer, yeah it’s hot when we head out on our lunch break, but guess what? Cycling will get you where you’re going much faster than walking, meaning less time in the heat.
And it only rains on about 82 out of 365 days each year and it hardly ever rains all day long so the odds of you getting rained on when out on a ride are actually pretty low.

Population density
Many of the most successful bike-share networks operate in cities with high population densities.
Bike-share is huge in Paris, France and Hangzhou, China, both of which have population densities of about 3,800 people per square kilometre.
Perth has a grand total of about 310 people per square kilometre.
The thing is, a lower population density is also why Perth’s buses and trains might not go directly to the place you want them to go – that’s where bike-share can fill the gaps.
Sure it may not be taken up on a similar scale to Hangzhou or Paris but when it is used its benefits are obvious, a sense of community, healthier members of the community and decreased congestion on our roads.
Perth people love to complain about our public transport: bike-share can help bridge the gap.

Anti-cyclist mentality
We’ve all seen the comments on articles about cyclists in Perth, there’s no love lost between cyclists and motorists.
Our roads were designed for cars and we are slowly catching up to incorporate cycling lanes on our roads and build more cycle paths to give riders another option.
The new passing laws, that set out a minimum distance motorists must leave when passing bike riders are a sign of a change in attitudes and behaviours.
Sure there might be some people on bikes who are not the most considerate, there are drivers who are less than considerate.
The thing is and this might seem a little ‘Yoko and John’ but we are all people and we all just want to get home safely at the end of the day.
Bike-riders are often motorists and motorists are often bike-riders and really we should be making the most of different types of transport to fit the specific purpose.
It’s also important to note that it is not compulsory for someone who rides a bikes to wear lycra, so a dislike for lycra is not a reason not to ride a bike.

Bike-share bubble is already bursting
What was one of the world’s highest ranking bike-share companies has recently gone bankrupt because of what some describe as the “race to become the market leader”.
So if the big boys are already falling, what makes us think we could fare any better?
The thing is, we are not trying to be the biggest bike-share company, we are not moving into numerous countries in an effort to get as many of our bikes out there as possible.
Unlike the dockless bike-share companies causing issues over east, we are small, flexible and plan to grow organically with the communities we operate within.
urbi was founded in Perth and built with West Australian communities in mind.

The urbi team are Perth people so we know the Perth stereotypes but we also know Perth people are willing to give new ideas a go, re-think the way things have been done in the past and make the most of life.
So why not jump on a bike today?

Learn more about the urbi app here.