Spin is a startup bike share similar to Citi Bike, but without the docks. Anyone with the app can pay a small fee and take the bikes anywhere within a certain area.
There’s still a chance that it could be a great benefit to Rockaway, but the way they tried to sneak the pilot program onto the peninsula was not the right way to go about it.
The company itself confirmed they reached out to the Department of Transportation less than a week before they planned to drop 150 bikes in the community.
Overly strict government regulations can often be stifling for startups, but in this case there needs to be oversight. By working alongside DOT, the pilot program could have been rolled out safely and smartly.
If DOT is not open to Spin operating in Rockaway in any capacity, then shame on them, because there’s a real chance that this could reduce pollution and help the local Rockaway economy.
But the company at least needs to give the city a chance to ensure the bikes are safe and the neighborhood’s infrastructure can accommodate it.
Councilman Eric Ulrich used the city shutting down the bike share as a chance to blast the mayor, but in reality, Ulrich as a member of the City Council should be familiar with the city’s concession laws.
He should have known there would be an issue and worked alongside DOT to find the best way of implementing the pilot instead of trying to quickly force it through then using it as a political prop.
There’s a good chance that Spin could be great for the Rockaways, but let’s at least give everyone a chance to ensure that will be the case.