We have all heard of bike sharing, but we think of generic bikes that God-knows-who has used. Times are changing, and bike sharing groups are really cool right now. If you are hesitant to bike sharing, this is the time to invest in one of the hippest trends around. Below are the top reasons why you need to invest in a bike sharing program today.
The Bikes Are Cooler
The orange-and-silver townies in Portland, Oregon’s Nike-sponsored Biketown system have a shaft (not chain) drive, stowable U-lock, and a solar-powered LCD display. Nike even painted some of them as classic sneaker designs. So far, Delia Ephron has yet to write a bizarre rant about the color like she did for the New York Times about Citi Bike’s distinctive blue-hued rides.
It’s Super Easy To Use
When bike share rolled out, it strongly favored those buying an annual pass; short-term rental options were cumbersome and pricey. But operators are shifting the pricing structure to be closer to that of bus or train travel. Washington, DC’s Capital Bikeshare, Philadelphia’s Indego, and Los Angeles’s Metro Bike are just three of a growing number offering easy single-ride checkout, priced at $4 or under.
It’s Super Accessible
After Portlanders asked for tricycles and hand cycles in their bike share fleet, the city announced it would add them in 2017. Boston, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Austin, Texas, among other cities, offer inexpensive (typically about $5) annual memberships for low-income riders. And Los Angeles recently received a grant to expand its system in low-income neighborhoods. Atlanta is also entering into a bike share program in some of its areas.
Some Offer E-Bikes
Some bike-share systems are starting to incorporate electric pedal-assist bikes from the Montreal-based company, Bewegen. The wireless, solar-powered kiosks don’t need to connect to a power grid. Find them in Baltimore and Birmingham, Alabama, and next year in Richmond, Virginia.
It’s Super Safe
Bike share had an unwelcome milestone last summer: the first fatality, when Virginia Murray was hit by a truck while using one of Chicago’s Divvy bikes. Her death is as tragic as any of the hundreds of cyclist deaths that occur each year. But consider that US bike share has traveled millions of miles, with more than 30,000 bikes. Bike share may even be making cycling safer. The National Association of City Transportation Officials examined data from seven cities and found that cycling becomes less risky as more people ride.