Friday, November 16, 2007

European-style bike-sharing programs head to US


An article titled "European-style bike-sharing programs head to US" by AFP has information about three programs, those of Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Arlington, Virginia, that are on their way. Washington, D.C.'s program is to launch in March or April of 2008 with 120 bikes at 10 stations. Small, but hey, it'll be the first in North America. D.C. contracted for the 120 bikes four years ago when it released its Request for Proposals for its bus shelter contract. Four years ago, a fleet of 120 was impressive. With larger and successful programs like Velib' (10,600 bikes now with 20,600 planned) and Bicing (3,000 bikes now with 6,000 planned), the relative size of a small program has shifted. D.C. officials are already considering how to expand the size of their program.

Also, Chicago is considering bids from JCDecaux and OYBike for its program. Both companies have yet to enter the U.S. market, however, JCDecaux's programs in Paris and Lyon are much more visible than OYBike's in the London suburb of Hammersmith & Fulham. Unless OYBike had a very appetizing offer for Chicago, JCDecaux's program is rather sexy.

Finally, Arlington, Virginia is considering another model for the provision of bike-sharing - the government provides the service.

image: Saul Loeb, AFP

1 comment:

Morten said...

Hi

Scaremongering might become a huge impediment to bike-sharing, for instance in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Quite a few people, even traffic safety experts or health profesionals, who should know better, go on about about how dangerous cycling is. Search for e.g. "Cycling the way ahead for towns and cities", for a contrary view from the Environment Directorate of the European Union.

As a corollary to "certainty" that cycling is dangerous, comes strong-worded helmet promotion or even helmet compulsion, sometimes even with stiff fines, like in Australia.

Still, thorough research of helmet compulsion in Australia, strongly indicates no gain has been had, rather cycling has decreased, and perhaps therefore, cycling safety has as a net effect decreased. ( Dorothy Robinson, 1996, 2006, 2007 and others)
Various official bodies in e.g. UK, Norway plus the European Cyclists' Federation ( ecf.com) have rejected helmet compulsion on scientific grounds.

Here is an example of the helmet v.s. bike sharing issue popping up

So which "side" should "back down" ? Are compromises possible ?

Hopefully the Paris, Lyon, Drammen etc experiences will convince people.

About helmets and safety, I suggest people read the research, and specifically look for rsearch on both sides of te helmet debate and criticism of the research. Wikipedia has a relatively good article on this, although still a little bit slanted towards helmet-scepticism.

In the article are links to cyclehelmets.org ad other sites. Cyclehelmets.org contains links and reviews of a very broad set of studies, studies that conclude both pro- et contra compulsion.

When a study on helmets is referenced, it is a good idea to check for comments there.