Tragedy of the Commons, Bike Programs Go Flat
From a Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader story "Yellow Bikes Ready for Riding" on May 18:
"Identical new bright yellow bicycles -- 52 of them -- were placed in downtown Lexington yesterday. For a fee of $10 that's good for a lifetime, a person may take one of the bikes for a spin at any time from April to October in the downtown area."
From a June 7 Herald-Leader story, "So Popular They Disappear: After 3 Weeks, Lexington's Yellow Bikes are Hard to Find,"
"Somewhere out there are 51 other yellow bikes, part of a three-week-old program to promote bike use downtown.
When the program was launched in May, the bikes were clustered conspicuously along busy downtown streets. But today some wonder where all the bikes have gone. There are concerns that people are taking them outside of downtown, storing them at home or stealing them.
A Herald-Leader reporter and photographer drove around downtown and surrounding neighborhoods yesterday for about four hours on a hunt for Yellow Bikes.
The trip turned up 10 bikes, four of which had flat tires (see picture above) or missing seats. Most of the 10 were in residential areas north of the downtown business district, although one bike was locked to a street sign in a nearby neighborhood. One bike with no seat and a flat rear tire had been locked near the corner of N. Broadway and W. Sixth Street for two weeks, a neighbor said."
Not to be deterred by the reality of the many previous failed experiments with common property bikes in other parts of the country, the organizers in Lexington hope to have 200 bikes by the end of summer.
Via Division of Labour.