"You will never get anyone out of their cars"  SLT and Lime Bikes

by Placerville Newswire / Aug 12, 2017 / comments

[Ken Skibum Curtzwiler, AUGUST SKIBUM ARTICLE]

The Lime Bikes are Coming!!! The Lime Bikes are Coming!!! I received so many questions about the Lime Bikes from business owners (quite a few other than bike shops I might add), Residents and locals (yes there is a huge difference between a resident and a local) that I decided to get together with them, a city rep, The League and anyone else that wanted to show up at this impromptu meeting. We held it at the Tahoe Mountain Lab and I wanted to present them and the city with several questions the community had. Now I live in the county so I really didn’t have a dog in this fight other than finding out some answers. Most people that contacted me would like to dispel a myth that the bike shops and other business are afraid of competition and nothing is further from the truth, however, they are afraid of the perceived unfair competition that a lot of folks are seeing so I decided to get to the bottom of this. Here are the questions and following answers I received from the them. 

1. Does Lime Bike have a city business license? Yes, although I have not personally seen it but am taking the word of them and the city. 

2. Do they have a retail / resell license. Yes, although I have not personally seen it but am taking the word of them and the city. 

3. Do they pay their taxes and how do they pay their taxes. Yes, although I have not personally seen how they do but am taking the word of them and the city. 

4. Are the bikes considered outdoor advertisement? This was a biggy. According to the city they are not considered outdoor display nor are they considered an advertisement or a billboard. When I brought up the idea that every business in town should now get a bright bicycle and put a small sign on it and place it in front of their stores they (the city rep) said go ahead. Of course the conversation quickly turned into a “Well you (Skibum) have advertisement on your truck and it is no different than that so have at it Tahoe but make sure you buy your bikes from a local shop then paint them. 

5. What about leaving them in front of an establishment’s bike racks, parking space or sidewalk. Again, the city did not see that as a problem and neither did Lime Bike as they said they talked with over 22 establishments but only one was a bike shop. They also have stated that a local bike shop is working with them for any repairs and that is not correct. I do know that most business’s (I have seen them doing this) are moving the Lime Bikes away from in front of their places. I mean seriously, what if I started a driving a trailer around and offered it as a mini VHR for the night and parked it in front of the Marriot. I do not think that would fly. 

6. How do you get a hold of anyone from Lime Bike? This was an interesting one as they have stated that they have hired 4 locals yet it is really only two and there is no contact information on the bike. I requested that they have a local number and not one in San Mateo where they are based. They complied and here it is 530-441-0411. When I contacted the League about them they wondered why I contacted them and it was because of the sign they have on the bikes. 

7. What about Ca law that requires all minors under the age of 18 to have a helmet? A local brick and mortar shop has a form that a parent must fill out if their kid refuses a helmet but they have one in stock to offer where as the Lime Bikes do not. They will add that to their app and agreement and I am no lawyer but I don’t think that would stand up in court if someone sues because there was not one physically there to refuse. 

After meeting with the Lime Bike folks I truly believe, and they do also, that they could have gone about this a little differently. We are not Seattle and what works in a city might not necessarily work in a tourist town where there is a bike shop on almost every corner. I understand the reasoning behind the Leagues involvement and the cities involvement when it comes to new business and saving the environment and getting people out of their vehicles but realistically, you will never get anyone out of their cars up here and the few you do will not make a bit of difference. 

I think they were so worried about saving the environment they forgot to save the community. What will make a difference is an efficient transportation system to which I have to ask the TTD “What in the world have you done with all the grant money you have received the past 15 years and why don’t we have a true bus service. I mean come on now, the town is only 5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, surely you have mapped it by now and know where the areas that need a bus system are. These Lime Bikes are a trial basis only and will be out of here in October, they will correlate all the trips and destinations and give the info to the League and City. Let’s give them a chance to do this because I feel this will put pressure on the TTD and question them as to “What in the heck have you been doing with the grant money” 

Got a little story about Community and who is our community and would like to spotlight Father Grace. Everyone knows I lost my son a few years ago on August 9, 2010. I visit his beach in Santa Cruz every year and I call Father Grace at home and have him give a small prayer for him on my phone to which he always does. That is Community and that is what separates a Resident from a Local.

Never forget that when you talk about Tahoe and our residents never forget our number one resident JACK McDERMOT JULY 3, 1948—JUNE 30, 2017. Bartender, Friend and above all Family.

Later:Skibum