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

Over 200 lives saved in first year at Victoria’s supervised consumption site

The Harbour celebrates its first anniversary with a report of zero deaths on site

Celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the Apollo 11 moonlanding

‘Ground control to Major Tom’ the countdown is on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Researchers head out from Sidney to explore Canada’s largest underwater volcano

The Explorer Seamount is as large as Greater Vancouver and full of previously undiscovered species

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Most Read