Monday, November 10, 2008

More on bike sharing

From the New York Times:

In increasingly green-conscious Europe, there are said to be only two kinds of mayors: those who have a bicycle-sharing program and those who want one.

Over the last several years, the programs have sprung up and taken off in dozens of cities, on a scale no one had thought possible and in places where bicycling had never been popular.


Anonymous said...

Having visited Copenhagen a number of times, I still don't understand the full value of public bike-sharing programs. I OWN a bike (actually more than one) and when I want a bike, I use my own. This ensures that the seat height is right, the wheels are always full of air, etc. Furthermore, I ride fixed, but the point is that I can care for and maintain my bike to my own specific needs and wants. Is the value that there is always a bike there when you want them? According to PBS, in Paris, there are never bikes at the top-of-the-hill stations, because Parisians ride down hills, but not back up them. Please explain why a bike sharing program is necessary. I feel the money that a city (such as NY) could spend on a fleet of bikes ill-suited to peoples personal tastes could be better spent on tax rebates for bike commuters, better bike lanes, etcetera.

Anonymous said...

a possible soultion to the hill problem:
It's a bike escalator.

PCM said...

I couldn't agree with the first comment more. Why would I want to ride a shared bike when my bikes are so nice?

But there are a couple of good answers. The biggest is you don't have to ride the shared bikes. What the program has accomplished wherever it's been tried, is a huge increase in the number of people biking. This is good for everybody. It makes biking normal. It gives bikers a bigger voice. Then come the bike lanes and so on.

Also, from all accounts, at least in France, they do a damn good job and keeping the bikes in good shape. My brother, who lives in Amsterdam and (of course) has a bike, called me from Paris. He said the bike in Paris was "better" than his Amsterdam bike.

Most people don't want the hassle of bike ownership--both space and maintenance. But they'd be willing to bike if the bike was there and ready to ride.

In other words, the program isn't for you or me. But if there were 10 times as many people riding bikes in New York, it would be great for you and me!

Jacob said...

nice posting

PCM said...

And I like the bike escalator. I posted about it. It might a nice solution and alternative to trucking shared bikes up a hill.