A bike sharing service is a convenient and affordable means of transportation. In addition to the cost savings, bike sharing is also a healthy and reliable option for commuting. It is often a great way to get people involved in the active transportation movement. The bikes are comfortable, secure and fun, and most come with a mobile app that allows users to find the nearest bike docking station.
Bike sharing can be a benefit to a city because it reduces traffic congestion, promotes active transport and reduces pollution. However, there are some challenges to consider. This article will discuss key questions for city officials to consider as they evaluate the benefits and risks of such services.
One issue for decision makers is the number of bikes in a system. As the number of bikes increases, it becomes harder to store them. Another problem is distribution. Some systems will only allow free usage within a specific area. If these systems are not well-distributed, they may not be accessible to all. Other issues include fees, deposits, registration and security measures.
Some research suggests that bike share use increases when it is integrated into the local mobility network. For example, Copenhagen’s Bycyklen bicycle share program has a fleet of electric bikes with GPS. They are equipped with fenders and cargo baskets to ensure safety and comfort.
On the other hand, a new working paper by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and Citi Foundation’s Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative provides a framework for cities to think about and address these challenges. While the risks of such programs remain minimal, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Many cities have begun public-private partnerships to provide these services.
When used properly, a bike share program can reduce traffic and improve the health of a community. Bike share bikes have fenders and cargo baskets, and many are accessed with a mobile app. Users can check out a bike with a credit card, then park it at a nearby bike docking station.
A recent study of bicycle-sharing trips by Colorado State University researchers found that these trips reduce carbon emissions and save the healthcare system a substantial amount of money. The results also showed that bike share trips decreased the risk of premature death and physical inactivity. These benefits resulted in an estimated annual reduction of 4.7 premature deaths and an estimated saving of $36 million in public health costs.
While the study showed that the health benefits of bike share were small, it did find that there were some differences in how people use them. For example, on weekdays, users are more likely to travel to the office, whereas on weekends they are more likely to take a leisure trip.
A bike sharing scheme can also help create more liveable green spaces. In addition to decreasing traffic and pollution, bike sharing can help eliminate the need for parking lots. Bicyclists can also use these bikes to access public places without fear of being fined.