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Bike sharing - fastest-growing in 165 cities worldwide - zero pollution but affordability & availability when oil crisis strikes

By WcP.Observer - Posted on 01 September 2012

Washington DC Launches Largest Bikeshare in US

Washington DC bikeshare

bike sharing system in Denver - B-Cycle System

melbourne bike hire


...there were around 136 bikesharing programs in 165 cities around the world, such as in the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Korea, Japan, Germany, Greece,Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK...

Bike sharing finally making it to the U.S.
While cities across Europe were growing their bike sharing programs, especially in Paris with 20,000 bikes and nearly a thousand stations, U.S. cities had yet to initiate even one. However, that’s about to change May 2008 when Washington DC becomes the first U.S. city to establish a bike sharing program.

Clear Channel Outdoor and the DC Department of Transportation are launching Smartbike DC, a modest but important introduction to bike sharing in the U.S. - with 100 bikes and 10 stations. Clear Channel, an outdoor advertising company, provides the bike sharing system in exchange for advertising on 800 bus shelters. Their most successful program to date is in Barcelona (pictured), with 6000 bicycles and 400 stations.

It operates very similar to the widely known Paris system, with electronic locking, recognition and payment. The Smartbike website provides a step by step guide, FAQ and reveals a $40/year subscription, but no word yet on hourly rates. In Paris, the first half hour is free and you can leave it at any station with no extra charge.

Bike shares are one of the fastest-growing modes of transportation in the country. Since the first U.S. bike-share system launched in 2008, the systems have spread like wildfire. Bike sharing allows users to rent bicycles from kiosks placed throughout a city and return them to any other location, creating a hassle-free way to get around. In just four years, 30 U.S. cities have launched bike shares, and many others have plans in the works. This year alone, 8 new cities have created bike shares and with more set to launch before the end of the year, 2012 may prove to be the biggest year for bike shares yet. Look for your nearest bike share on this map.

Americans are looking for cleaner and more affordable transportation choices. As city centers are choked by automobile traffic, bike shares become an increasingly attractive option for getting around. In Capital Bikeshare’s 2011 Member Survey, more than 41 percent of users reported reducing their number of car trips after joining bike share. These users reported driving an average of 523 miles less per year after becoming a bike share member, which translates into avoiding releasing 487.7 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per bike share user1. In Capital Bikeshare’s first year alone, the system’s members saved more than 1,632 tons of carbon dioxide just by replacing car trips with bike trips. By reducing our dependency on driving and oil, bike shares can have a significant environmental benefit.

Biking also helps save money by reducing the amount you need to spend on car payments, insurance, and oil. Most bike share systems offer year-long, monthly, and short-term memberships with no additional fees for trips under 30 minutes. With year-long memberships usually priced around $75, the cost of bike share is still very low compared to other means of transportation. In a 2011 Member Survey, Capital Bikeshare users reported saving an average of $819 per year. Most of these savings came from avoiding costs related to driving like gas, parking, and vehicle maintenance. Others reported saving money by replacing taxi trips with bike-share rides.

Another benefit of bike shares is that they not only add another mode of transportation to the existing city fabric but also do so faster and more cheaply than many other transportation projects. Bike shares in cities like Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., took between 12 and 18 months to get up and running after being announced. That seems like the blink of an eye compared to the years and even decades that highway and public transit expansions often take. Though costs vary based on the size and location of the system, Minneapolis-St. Paul was able to implement the first 700-bike phase of their system, Nice Ride Minnesota, for $3.2 million. The cost of creating a single mile of urban highway averages $60 million, making bike sharing a relatively inexpensive way to relieve urban congestion.

Bike shares can also help boost the local economy.

Biking In Copenhagen
Copenhagen seems much smaller, and more beautiful when you are on a bike. The CityBikes are free to use and are a great opportunity to get around the town easily. Just stick a 20 kroner coin in the bike stand, and off you go – you get your money back when you chain it up again in any other bike rack scattered around the city.

Washington DC Launches Largest Bikeshare in US
Using the bikes in the Capital Bikeshare program is as easy as pie. Anyone with a credit card can be a member and it costs $5 for one day, $25 for 30 days and $75 per year. The per use charge is free for the first half hour, $1.50 for the second 30 minutes, $3 for the third 30 minutes and $6 for every 30 minutes after that. The pricing is meant to encourage quick trips across town and to dissuade riders from taking long leisurely bike rides throughout the city. There are already more than 50 stations.

“What we have been able to accomplish and launch here today will be a legacy for a healthier, more vibrant city providing options for travelers looking for an alternate way to travel throughout the region now and for future generations,” said D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty during the launch of the program yesterday. Fenty’s bikeshare celebration comes on the heels of the partially popular D.C. mayor’s loss of the democratic primary. Supporters of Fenty note his wild exuberance for biking as one of his positive qualities — he’s more than doubled the amount of bike lanes since 2008. The bikeshare program in D.C. has come to fruition in just 12 months and hopefully will be a shining light for other US countries to jump on the bike transportation boat.

Is Los Angeles Ready for Bike Sharing?

Denver B- Cycle System - a bike sharing system

Sharing is Chic
Much like the RideKick we covered, cargo bikes are the ideal car replacement because they can carry your kids, potted plants and all sorts of other big, chunky items you couldn’t fit into your flimsy wire bike basket. Velogistics is a new program arising in Germany committed to sharing cargo bikes. Peer-to-peer services are generally on the rise, offering car-sharing through Relay Rides, bike-sharing through various local programs, and sharing home improvement tools and appliances through Zilok. What’s special about Zilok is that it’s designed to support renting and sharing of just about anything. There’s even a community task sharing program called TaskRabbit.

The recent changes in our economic landscape have only exposed and intensified a phenomenon: an explosion in sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping.
The notion of sharing, collaborative consumption, swapping and reusing is attractive at so many levels, but the one most compelling to me is the idea that it actually thrives or fails on the integrity and reputation of individuals: in a word, trust.

There was a day when we lived in the same town that we consumed…that our products came from the local baker or the local bank. Regulations weren’t necessary because bad meat from the butcher meant public humiliation. Today there is an anonymity to consumption that allows avarice to overcome values. If the public square, through technology, can allow us to interact with one another, the demand for honesty will rise again.

We are trading not just goods, but reputations. We are selling not just value, but transparency and trust.
The other impact of this movement is a trend away from entitlement and toward collaboration.

We have become a society of polarized thinkers:
it is either mine, or yours. Collaborative consumptions shifts the thinking to “us” and “we”. Where will this lead us? How will this shape our society? There are certainly risks. But it seems like…smells like…something very good is brewing.

The restoration of community.

*update* Wednesday 1 May 2013
The ruling by five judges – the first time a UK court has recognised that the government has failed in efforts to meet European air pollution limits – delighted air pollution campaigners. It means the government faces stiff European fines and British cities may have to ban cars and limit the entry of heavy good vehicles to dramatically reduce air pollution. But because the court also ruled that the European court of justice will have to step in to clarify some legal issues, the government may be able to delay acting for up to a year.

"This landmark decision … paves the way for the European commission to take legal action against the UK," said James Thornton, ClientEarth chief executive. "The ruling marks a turning point in the fight for clean air and will pile the pressure on the environment secretary, Owen Paterson. He must now come up with an ambitious plan to protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes. Until now, his only policy has been lobbying in Europe to try and weaken air pollution laws." The group's case concerned 16 cities and regions, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, which government plans show will suffer from illegal levels of NO2, nitrogen dioxide – until as late as 2020 or 2025.

Supreme court ruling may force British cities to clean up and ban dirty cars

*update* 3 May 2013
Bike Party — a fresh new way to take back the streets "Welcome to Bike Party: ... I saw the 20-, 30-, and, yes, 40-something couples in retro tuxes, chiffon and satin gowns, with flowers in their lapels and corsages on their wrists, posing for pictures next to decorated bicycles"...And, of course, there’s after-Bike-Party parties each month at a local bar. The monthly route gets shared with police, who occasionally help block traffic, but otherwise, it’s all very informal. The Bike Party concept was apparently first launched in San José, Calif., where Baltimore organizer Tim Barnett, a Maryland Zoo zoologist by trade, says he got the idea to create a similar version in his adopted hometown.


Photos courtesy Spacing Magazine, Inhabit, Denver Post, Urban Ugg Co., Wired New York, and Wealth Habit

My contemporary folio
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Too bad it's still not used in my town(( But the idea is great! Everyone can use a bike - fast and green means of transport) Leave it on another station for someone else. That's how it works.
That's the future, let's support it)

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