This was a surprise, but pretty neat!
This is a very welcome change for Yelp. A few years ago, I tried to go to breakfast at a suburban diner that had no Sunday morning Pace bus service. I rode my bike and found absolutely no useable place to lock up a bicycle: no workable fence, sign post or bike rack anywhere in sight, even though there was a fairly large car parking lot attached. So I had to go back home without breakfast. I gave the place a one star Yelp review, clearly stating that it was because the place was inaccessible except by car and that I'd reconsider my rating if I ever could get to the place. I then received a nasty email from the San Francisco Yelp HQ, removing my review, as they said I couldn't rate a place without entering the door. They didn't buy my argument that my low rating was precisely that the diner didn't provide bike parking for anyone who didn't own a car. Yelp is beginning to listen to us.
I recently read a review on a new restaurant and noted bike parking among the information on the place. Yes, I think they are starting to listen to us. Very cool.
While it's unfortunate that there was no where to lock up (there really wasn't even a stop sign within a few blocks?), I think it's kinda lame to have given the business a 1 star review because of it.
I may have been feeling extra cranky when I wrote the review, having missed both my morning coffee & breakfast. But Yelp pulled the review, so it really didn't matter. I may be more of a harsh Yelp critic than most. When I see a big car park with no good bike rack or fence to lock up to, I get a little cheesed off.
There have been times when I've visited a suburban restaurant with a group of people and we ended up having to lock all our bikes together and take over a parking spot. Nobody had a right to whine about that, because that one parking spot generated a lot more business for the restaurant than if a car had been parked there.
Seemed like the best way to get it done.
One star is a little harsh...
I usually knock off one star for something like this and explain in my review that I knocked off a star for lack of bicycle parking. This is in hopes they will add bicycle parking to their business. I would then update my review.
Here's an example of a review I posted:
But, you will notice that Yelp thinks they have bicycle parking, which is not true unless it's been added recently. So, I guess we may not be able to rely on Yelp's data.
Does anyone know if they added bicycle parking?
I was happy to see them put it into place. I suggested this to them a little over a year ago. I think it started about 3 months ago.
I started including this info in my Yelp & Google reviews about a year ago.
Just like Divvy is starting to be a selling point for condos and apartments, bike parking is becoming essential to businesses. Having bike parking as a Yelp category is fantastic because it is further solidifying how important it is for businesses to request a bike rack from the city.
Next level: I made a huge mistake and forgot my lock to go to meet my friends for dinner at Fountainhead (nicest people, great beer selection, tasty food). When I explained my situation, the restaurant manager came to my rescue, keeping my bike safe in his restaurant. I'm not saying I'd make this a regular habit but restaurants are understanding more and more how important it is to have bike parking (and in my case emergency bike parking).