Only 68 of the original 200 U-bicycles distributed in Victoria remain after bikes have been tampered with or stolen. (U-Bicycle/Facebook)

Just over half of Victoria U-Bicycles remain on city streets

U-bicycles stolen, damaged and dumped

Just over half of the U-bicycles that once filled Greater Victoria streets are gone, mostly thanks to thieves and vandalism.

On Sept. 30, 2017, bike-sharing company U-bicycle distributed 200 bikes across the city. Equipped with GPS and self-activating locks, the bikes had no fixed bicycle racks and could be docked anywhere.

RELATED: Victoria goes green with new bikeshare service

RELATED: U-bicycle donates 25 repurposed bikes to Anawim House

Eventually, the program expanded to Saanich, Esquimalt, Langford and Cowichan Bay. In November 2018, U-bicycle switched to a “virtual parking system” in Greater Victoria. The 135 “virtual parking zones” are used for the pick up and drop off of bicycles.

The virtual “parking spots” are supposed organize the bikes and “control the chaos,” said U-Bicycle Victoria city manager Tricia Cacchione, as well as “ensure bikes aren’t being parked in inconvenient places … like blocking someone in a wheelchair.”

But virtual docks didn’t solve all of U-bicycle’s problems. Since they were first introduced, many of the bikes have been stolen, damaged or vandalized. In fact, only 110 U-bicycles remain on the streets of downtown Victoria.

It appears that one cyclist even “docked” a U-bicycle under the Johnson Street bridge.

Callisto Rivers snapped a picture of a bike submerged beneath the Johnson Street bridge.

“As a start-up company we are still dealing with the growing pains and we have come to a realization that vandalism and damage is, unfortunately, kind of just part of the process of having an accessible option for individuals,” Cacchione said, adding she hopes anyone who witnesses a bike being toyed with or damaged will contact U-Bicycle.

“We’re always essentially watching the bikes. We know which ones are missing and which ones have been taken inappropriately,” she added. “All we can do is create a dialogue and increase our community engagement.”

Robert Emmett found this U-Bicycle wheel off Douglas Street and Burnside Road.

Cacchione said many of the bikes have been donated or recycled after having their locks tampered.

When the bike is left behind, U-Bicycle has the option to donate the bikes to an organization that refurbishes them and sends them to Uganda.

RELATED: TURF WAR: Victoria bike rental outfits wheelie not down with U-bicycle

RELATED: Victoria’s U-bicycle move from dockless to virtual parking

U-bicycle has bikes in other B.C. locations including Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Richmond.

This story was updated to reflect more current numbers provided by Victoria U-Bicycle.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Canadian Coast Guard breaks ground on permanent search and rescue station in Victoria

Victoria-based SAR will do all rescues in local harbour and parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Police actions under investigation following Langford arrest

IIO investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm

Victoria woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

Victoria council looks to self-impose carbon tax on staff airfare

A new carbon pricing fee would put additional funds into the city’s Climate Action Reserve

Gas stations could push to 167.9 cents a litre this week

Analyst says high prices are due to supply and demand

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Island Cup set for East Sooke on May 3-5

Off-road racing event expected to attract over 50 racers

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read