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Gear Prudence: Let’s say you’re biking in the bike lane and get to a red light and in the backseat of the car next to you there’s an adorable Labradoodle puppy with his head sticking out the window and you have a Labradoodle too and you can tell this guy is really sweet and his cute face is just right there and it would be so easy to give him a quick pet and put your hand in his super soft fluff for just a second before the light turns green. That’s allowed right? —Window Open, Obviously Friendly
Dear WOOF: The struggle is real! While it’s supremely tempting, it’s also a no. You don’t pet dogs you don’t know without the owner’s permission and even if you can somehow negotiate with the owner before the light turns green, it’s probably safer if you don’t mix petting with pedaling. That way the driver can focus on driving and not worry about whether their dog is fully within the vehicle or in your hands. But all is not lost: You can (and should) still verbally shower the dog with copious praise, asserting his good boy-ness and making sure he knows that in another scenario you’d be all about the snuggles. Yes, this is less fun than full-on nuzzles. It’s also another point against driving—if the pup in question were being walked, it’d be far easier to give him the attention he rightfully deserves. Listen up, owners of adorable dogs: Just rearrange your travel habits to cater to the needs of dog-loving bicyclists. It’s the right thing to do. —GP
Gear Prudence: Are the dockless bikeshare bikes gone for good? I don’t see them anymore and I read that one company was selling some. What happened?—Over-hyped Vehicles Ended Rapidly
Dear OVER: The Dockless Vehicle Pilot Program hasn’t yet made it a year, but there have been some significant changes. Of the five companies that started with bikes, only one remains fully invested in dockless bikeshare. That’s JUMP, the now-Uber-owned provider of electric bikes. Two of companies—Ofo and Mobike—have left the market entirely. And the other two companies have pivoted fully (Spin) or mostly (Lime) to those e-scooters that everyone has strong opinions about. As for why there’ve been so many changes, it’s complicated. D.C. has a hard cap of 400 bikes per company and some of the companies said they’re struggling to make money with so few bikes able to be rented. Scooters seem to be more profitable. Global business machinations (Ofo and Mobike are Chinese companies with much greater market share elsewhere) also play a role. And lastly, GP surmises that the presence and widespread use of Capital Bikeshare, the OG publicly owned docked service, was always going to make it harder for alternatives to gain adoptees. That said, the pilot isn’t over and the final rules haven’t been established. Once those are finalized, don’t be surprised if there’s a dockless resurgence. —GP