Showing posts with label Bike-sharing Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bike-sharing Blog. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday

Today is the 6th birthday for The Bike-sharing Blog. Time flies as you're pedaling along.

In these past six years, bike-sharing has taken the world by storm. There is no one individual leading the charge, but rather people all over the globe are seeing the value that bike-sharing brings to their city, county, town, or state -- whether it's to lower traffic congestion, improve public health, or increase economic activity around the bike-share stations.

Thanks to the bike-sharing employees who balance bikes from full to empty stations and keep them and the stations functioning. Thanks to the bike transit professionals who manage the services, plan for station locations, partner with friendly neighbors and organizations, and ensure that the services run smoothly. Thanks to the advocates who support bike-sharing in their communities, demand bike-sharing in municipalities where it does not yet exist, and help push the concept to evolve and innovate to better meet the needs of even more people. And thanks to the people who use the service and don't think twice about how bike-sharing has become part of their lives and the urban fabric of their city or town.

There are bike-sharing services on every continent now with millions of people sharing bikes daily. This is a long way from where we started just six years ago. Now tens of thousand of people in New York City and Chicago are anticipating the launch of bike-sharing services this month and next. There have been details of the on-going culture clash between car vs. bike as bike-share stations begin to dot city streets. As other cities around the world have taken to bike-share, so will these too and other cities world-wide as the automobile culture fades and the bicycle culture grows and becomes mainstream. Equity and safety for all.

Thanks for your continued support of The Bike-sharing Blog for these past six years and the next six too.

Paul DeMaio and Russell Meddin

p.s. - Don't forget to check out The Bike-sharing World Map and our new Twitter feed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bycyklen is Dead. Long Live Bycyklen!

The City of Cyclists won't be modernizing its bike-sharing service any time soon due to a decision by the Copenhagen City Council. They recently voted not to fund a modernization of one of the earliest bike-sharing services, Bycyklen, which was born in 1995 and is still in operation. Rather than smart cards and solar stations, this service uses a coin deposit lock and the honor system which had worked reasonably well in its early years, but hasn't been maintained properly by its present operator -- AFA JCDecaux. 

According to The Copenhagen Post, Ayfer Baykal, Copenhagen's deputy mayor for technical and environmental affairs, "defended the city’s decision not to invest in the cycle sharing scheme this year.
“They’re junk, I agree with [the Danish Cyclist Federation] on that issue. The city bike scheme, as it exists today, needs to be updated. It is old and outdated. But right now we need to prioritize.”
Deputy Mayor Baykal continues, “The city bike scheme is primarily for people coming from outside the city because Copenhageners have their own bicycles. I have chosen to prioritize better cycling conditions in Copenhagen through improved bicycle lanes and bicycle parking instead of the bicycle sharing system.”

What better way to help tourists experience the city than the way Copenhageners do - by bike? If a Bycyklen or other bike-share bike isn't available to a tourist, he or she could just as easily use a taxi or rent a car. To the environment, it doesn't matter whether the pollution comes from a resident or a tourist, but rather that the pollution is created. Also, tourists are the most profitable user segment as they contribute more financially than residents do through day membership or per minute fees.

While Copenhageners are bike-friendly, do they always bring their bike with them? I too live in a city with a growing bike mode share and frequently go by bike, but sometimes I just don't have my bike with me. The local bike-share service, Capital Bikeshare, frequently helps me get from point A to point B. I could otherwise take the train or drive.

The 150 million Danish kroner (26 million USD) will instead be used to make cycling improvements in the city, which is not a bad second place project, however, a piece of reality in how local governments are stretched thin for funding for many deserving projects. Additionally, the end of Bycyklen is near as the contract with AFA JCDecaux for the service expires October 31. Not sure what will happen after that with bike-sharing.

On a personal note, Bycyklen got me interested and excited about bike-sharing back in 1995 as I read about the new Bycyklen on-line and went to Copenhagen for a semester abroad to learn about bike-sharing and this quaint modern bike-friendly city which I, in turn, fell in love with. I was back last year in a professional capacity to work with the Cities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg and DSB in developing the public tender for a new operator and vendor. Hopefully the Council will see the value of modernizing the bike-sharing service not only to regain a worldwide leadership in bike-sharing that it once had.