So Just Why Is Uber Crushing All Those Red Bikes?

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Given the perils of cramming ourselves into public transport at present – and what value a truly integrated transport system when it’s exactly that which might kill you – there has been ,as we might expect, a boom in travelling by bicycle. To the extent that the bike shops are out of new ones and given that all the Chinese factories closed down there are no others to be had.

At which point Uber is destroying thousands of entirely useful bikes. So, why? Are they tired of losing only that much cash and what to piss away more?

So, what’s the answer here?

The answer, well, it’s the joy of this economic system that we’ve screwed ourselves up with. As Uber themselves have said:

“As part of our recent deal, Lime took possession of tens of thousands of new model Jump bikes and scooters,” an Uber spokesperson told Recode. “We explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes, but given many significant issues — including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment — we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them.”

Liability is the thing there. These are specific bikes, made to a specific design. As such it’s Uber – a large corporation with deep pockets – that has to stand behind them. Someone falls off and cracks their head then it’ll be Uber that some ambulance chaser sues. And, given the state of the law, win against.

So, why is Uber pulping perfectly useful bikes? Because out insistence that Big Bad Companies are trying to kill us all makes them do so. Welcome to the bed you made and don’t you dare complain about it, it’s yours, you lie in it.

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Spike
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Spike

You would think that Uber could sell those bikes “as is.” Then again, you would think California consultants could agree to a service contract that would let them be fired at will with no right to apply for unemployment compensation that would drive up costs the state assesses to the company. But the “state of the law” is that the business of the court is not upholding a private contract but deciding which party I would like to walk away with all the goodies.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

This is also the reason why drugs cost a billion or so and take so long to produce. Of course, the next thing you’ll ask me is ‘Will YOU take those untested things yourself.’ Um, er, oh, ah. Let me get back to you on that. But circumstances alter cases. As I remember it, during the first great ebola panic, some African country, I think it was Senegal, righteously refused to allow the wicked whites to conduct their evil experiments on innocent Africans, and insisted that only properly tested drugs be used. Then a prominent local doctor caught the disease,… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

You have been thalidomided! You correctly state the problem but then offer a false choice between testing under our ruinous government licensing regime, and no testing at all. Testing has two components: Safety (that babies not be born without limbs, as some were after thalidomide), and efficacy (whether it does what it purports to). This second can be left to doctor and patient. In fact, an alternative for even safety testing is the way we do it for home appliances: certification by a private underwriter. And Pfizer et al value their brand and reputation too highly (and fear lawsuits after-the-fact)… Read more »

thefat tomato
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thefat tomato

Precisely, except drug development(read regulatory approval) is now at 5 to 10 billion dollars. The billion dollar figure dates from 1990-2000 regulatory approval costs.
It is all about liability, and how to avoid it, something which the post patent generic industry as nailed, by lobbying and getting themselves immunity from liability.