Bike share systems are proving that the more travelers on two wheels, the safer and more vibrant bicycling becomes. Which is why Jones is proud that bike share companies are bringing new riders into the fold. “What’s amazing to me is seeing people who haven’t been on a bike in 15 or 20 years walking up to a station and reengaging with bicycling,” Jones said. “What they realize on a bike share bike is they don’t have to be going 25 or 30 miles per hour. You can take your time, really feel the city and have some fun.”
Share the Bike Love
Nice Ride, 2011
+ 700 bikes
+ 73 stations
+ 29,000 24-hour subscriptions and 1,300 one-year subscriptions in 2010
+ 500 bikes
+ 50 stations
+ >43% of trips on B-cycle replaced car trips
Capital Bikeshare, 2010
+ 1,100 bikes
+ 110+ stations
+ 82% ridership increase during rush hour from 2007
+ 5,000 bikes
+ 400 stations
+ 3-million pounds of greenhouse gases saved
+ 20,000 bikes
+ 1,202 stations
+ 46% of users in 2009 were less likely to use their personal vehicles after joining
Voices of Bike Share
Meleah Geertsma, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a member of Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC. Here’s why she rides, in her own words.
Last summer, when I moved to Washington, DC, from Chicago, IL, I was excited to find out that the city had recently started a bike sharing program. I own three bikes of my own, so my interest wasn’t a matter of having a bike or not, but more the convenience and flexibility of having an accessible, affordable option around the city for short-distance trips.
There’s a Bikeshare station near my home in Mount Pleasant and a number of stations close to many of the places that I frequent. I’ve found numerous uses for Capitol Bikeshare in the past year: biking to a settlement meeting in a suit; riding to work or an evening out in a skirt and heels; meeting up with friends when I knew I would be too tired to bike home; riding in one direction when I want to walk part way or if the weather is expected to turn ugly; or biking home when a cab is too expensive or traditional public transit is too slow. I have also used Bikeshare a fair amount in the winter to reduce wear and tear on my own bikes from salt, sand and slush (and to circumvent a mess in the house where I store them). I’ve even used Bikeshare – with an overnight backpack on – to travel to Union Station and catch the Amtrak on my way to visit family. And out-of-town friends use it on their visits with us so that we can ride around together.
The sheer range and number of people that I see on Bikeshare bikes makes me smile on a daily basis. Overall, I find Bikeshare a wonderful addition to the urban transit landscape. It has extended the range of trips that I take by bike and, from what I’ve seen, gets a wider range of people out on two wheels.
Voices of Bike Share
Curtis Caldwell is a chief in Denver, CO - and a member of Denver B-Cycle. Here's why he rides, in his own words.
I began using the Denver Bike Sharing program last year, shortly after its inaugural launch on Earth Day. I used to own a bike that got me wherever I needed to go in the city, but it was stolen around the same time B-Cycle started. I bought into the program, as that was more cost-effective than purchasing a new bike.
I'm lucky to live in the Capitol Hill area, as there are four B-Cycle stations within two blocks of my current apartment. Plus, there's a station behind Vesta Dipping Grill, my work, at 18th and Blake streets. I find myself using the system to bring home groceries, travel downtown to see movies, ride to the Cherry Creek Mall for people-watching, bike to various parks around Denver and just get out and enjoy the sun and beautiful weather. There is barely a day that goes by that I don't use a B-Cycle at least once.
I love the program because it's convenient. I never have to worry about a flat tire. I don't have to worry about it being stolen, since it locks into the kiosk. If I ride it somewhere where there isn't a kiosk, the built-in lock works wonderfully. The bike has built-in front and rear lights, as well as a sweet bell. It's a three-speed, so no hill is ever an issue. Plus, a built-in GPS system tracks the bike and will tally your miles, carbon offset and rank among all riders in miles traveled.
As of May 2011, I was in fourth place for the most miles traveled. Last year I finished in first place at 1,600 miles (2,575 kilometers) traveled.