Bike Share programs around the world spark ideas for Seattle’s

B-cycle bike share in boulder
Boulder’s B-cycle bike share, which I used last year to get the last 2.5 miles from a bus stop to my destination. It was fantastic!

I highly recommend this excellent article from Grist on bike sharing. It cites numerous examples from around the world (here’s a handy map of them all), which spark several ideas for shaping the Puget Sound program (already in the works):

  • One bike share in Germany uses “station-less” bikes that are parked anywhere and located by smartphone. Sound familiar? The increasingly popular Car2Go program in Seattle uses the same model. I already tweeted @Car2Go asking why not start Bike2Go, if not in Seattle, then in other cities they service. Feel free to do the same! =) 
  • Clear Channel started the well-known and highly successful program in Paris called Vélib’. Seattle has no shortage of potential “anchor” corporations that could do the same or at least take a supportive role, yet according to this PSBJ article, Puget Sound Bike Share is still seeking sponsorship. Looks like Microsoft, UW, and REI are already in on the action, or are at least offering statements of support. Anyone from Boeing, Amazon, Safeco, Nordstrom, Alaska Air, Costco, Nintendo, Raleigh USA, etc., etc. reading this? Seems like a golden business opportunity.
  • A program in Hangzhou, China, integrates its bike sharing with other local transit options like bus and subway. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Seattleites could use their ORCA card to access bike share?

What features would you like to see in our local bike share program?

I really like the article’s concluding statement: “Having bikes ready to go on the streets encourages more people to try out biking, and once they experience its convenience, speed, and lower cost, they then advocate for further improvements to cycling infrastructure — like bike lanes, paths, and parking — making it even easier for more riders to join in. This “virtuous cycle” means that it is increasingly likely that bike sharing could soon show up in a city near you.”

What a fantastic way to increase ridership, and what an extraordinary opportunity for Seattle.

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3 thoughts on “Bike Share programs around the world spark ideas for Seattle’s”

  1. The bike-share program in Seattle makes me anxious.

    I want it to succeed. I want to live in a city where bicycles are a ubiquitous form of transportation. I want this city to be my city of Seattle. Yet, I worry that Seattle is not conducive to a successful bike-share program, at least not yet.

    –As Lukewarm posted on his blog (shared in comments), we’ve got a helmet law. Not conducive to spontaneous bike trips – even if there is a helmet dispenser. hmmm.
    –Our bike infrastructure is not interconnected (yet).
    –Our density is not really all that dense compared to the cities that we know to have successful bike share

    The thing is, failure would be so incredibly visible! One would not need to be paying much attention to notice the unique bikes and stands arrive and then maybe disappear. Visible failure would signal to those vocal opponents of bicycles on roadways they are right. The evidence is there for all to see. Mostly, I am fearful of how failure would adversely impact all bicycle transportation initiatives. Could we be pursuing this program too soon?

    ‘Course there’s no success without trying. So, maybe we are ready, but jeez it makes me anxious…

    Good reading here if you are interested: http://seattlebikeshare.org/

  2. The program in Hangzhou is incredible. Of the 25 people in my office in Hangzhou, half of them use these bicycles every day to either go to-and-from their bus stop or their homes. They make up about 40% of the bicycles I see every day. I enjoy them as well…pretty amazing, and Seattle would be a perfect city for such a system. Would love to see this happen.

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