Benefits of Bike-Sharing Services
The list of advantages to be reaped from implementing bike-sharing services is not a short one. The benefits include more savings, less fuel consumption, less congestion, fewer vehicle emissions, transport flexibility, and health benefits.
However, the most unique quality of public bikes is the concept of sharing. When people share bikes in a publicly available service, people can use the bikes on an “as-needed” basis, without the responsibilities and cost associated with ownership. Bike-sharing services allow people who would not use bicycles under normal circumstances, to reap the benefits of cycling, whether they are locals or tourists.
Bike-sharing services can also encourage more use of bikes, by creating a solid visual statement that bikes also belong on the streets of cities. Commuters using alternative means of transport can view bicycle sharing as a solid on-street “cycling promotion campaign”.
Moreover, studies have revealed the adoption of bike-sharing services in a city is directly related to cycling. What this means is that people are more likely to cycle in cities that have bike-sharing schemes than do not. This reflects the combined effect of the provision of bike-sharing schemes, as well as improvement to cycling facilities. Other studies have even suggested that adopting bike-sharing services can also create the perception that cycling is a normal and safe mode of transport in places where such a phenomenon is not common.
Cities across the United States have not been left behind when it comes to bike-sharing services. With the help of CMRE Financial, recently Portland launched BIKETOWN, a new bike-sharing scheme to service the region. So what is the fuss all about? It turns out that proper bike-sharing services in cities can have significant positive impacts.
The concept of bike-sharing relies on a scheme of self-service bicycle stations. Users usually pick up a bike by checking out using a debit/credit card or membership card. After that, they can ride the bike to wherever they want to go and park it in the nearest docking station. Bike share bikes usually have cargo baskets, integrated locks, and are comfortable and enjoyable. They also typically feature gearing, lights, and fenders that make cycling in urban cities safe and delightful.
Bike-sharing services can encourage more people to participate in bicycle commuting through the provision of safe, secure, and fun bikes.
A study conducted in Washington D.C. IN 2013 suggested that there is a difference between bike share users and regular cyclists. The study revealed that Bike share users are more likely not to own automobiles or bikes, have lower-incomes, be younger, and be women.
By making bikes easily accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise ride a bike, bike-sharing services encourage new demographics to adopt the use of bikes for transportation. In Portland, a user of the BIKETOWN service expressed the view that they would probably never have tried cycling without BIKETOWN.
Officials of the National Association of City Transportation believe that bike-sharing services make cycling safer for everybody by increasing the visibility of cyclists. Studies have also shown that increased cycling in urban centers leads to improved walking and cycling infrastructure.