Saturday, May 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Bike-sharing Blog

One year ago this month I started up The Bike-sharing Blog to assist the global community in the spread of knowledge about bike-sharing and hasten the growth of this eco-friendly concept. During this first year of the Blog, the one-time fringe idea has caught on like wildfire and rapidly expanded throughout Europe and followed in Asia (China) and the Australian continent (New Zealand) and is to follow in most other continents.

There's no reason why bike-sharing shouldn't grow even quicker than subway systems did with their invention in the 19th century. There's an even greater need for inexpensive and green mobility now than ever before. Bike-sharing is the least expensive mode of transit too. Compared to other transit, you just can't beat a bike. No gasoline is required and the driver is the customer. That's all on top of bicycling being the most efficient form of transport. Not bad.

During The Bike-sharing Blog's second year, we will have an even busier year. Programs are to be underway hopefully next month in the U.S. starting with my hometown of Washington, D.C. with many more major cities across the country and Canada to follow. South America has at least one program underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Middle East has a future program in Tel Aviv. Europe has future programs spreading east and south towards Poland and Greece. Australia will be popping out a program as will South Korea.

I hope The Bike-sharing Blog has assisted in the spread of knowledge to the global community about this great concept.


Paul DeMaio
MetroBike LLC
Washington, D.C.

image credit: Soritov

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vélib - le film

Bike-sharing, Parisian style!

Merci, Copenhagenize.

The Bicycle and the Drum

One purpose of The Bike-sharing Blog is to educate people about how bike-sharing works. With more folks who understand bike-sharing and its benefits, there become more advocates for it. Each advocate is another drum beating in unison. As the concept spreads throughout societies around the world, the number of advocates increases and the drums beat louder than before. Bike-sharing is an important piece of the puzzle which allows cities to correct the mistakes that have been made which focused intensely on creating environments that catered to the automobile and forgot the people living there.

Bike-sharing is also a movement. A movement rapidly developing and shaping our collective future. It's a movement away from four wheels towards that of two. It's about using Earth's limited resources more efficiently.

As the author of The Bike-sharing Blog and one of the concept's many proponents, I hope that this blog is helpful to you in learning about bike-sharing. Share the idea with people you know, so the drum will beat even louder.

Paul DeMaio
MetroBike LLC
Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Democrats and Republicans to Have Bike-sharing at Conventions

Bike-sharing will be "bike-partisan" at both of this year's Democratic and Republican National Conventions, showing that bicycling is "neither left, nor right, but ahead" to quote the Green Party's motto. Both Conventions will use the Freewheelin program developed by Humana with technology from QI Systems. Humana and Bikes Belong will bring 1,000 bikes to Denver during the Democratic National Convention in August and the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in September. The bikes can be used for free by anyone looking for an alternative to automobiles during the convention.

According to a press release from the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee for the Democratic Party:

"Amid the buzz of national Bike to Work Week, the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, Humana Inc. and Bikes Belong took steps with - or better yet, pedaled - a new initiative today to encourage bike use as an alternative mode of transportation during the Democratic National Convention.

"Denver Host Committee President Elbra Wedgeworth and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper unveiled plans for a bike-sharing program called Freewheelin, part of Denver's efforts to support healthy living and environmental sustainability during the Democratic National Convention."

According to Pioneer Press regarding the Republican National Convention:

"Just in time for $4-a-gallon gasoline, that's the latest welcoming perk lined up on the red carpet for the Republican National Convention scheduled to hit St. Paul from Sept. 1-4.

"St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced Friday that 1,000 bikes will be stationed in the Twin Cities for use by visitors and anyone else looking for a free alternative to cars to get around during the convention.

"The effort is sponsored by the Humana Inc. health insurance company in conjunction with the Bikes Belong cycling advocacy group, which also plans to take 1,000 free bikes to Denver for the Democratic National Convention from Aug. 25-28.

"After convention-goers go home, the program, called Freewheelin, will leave 70 bikes in the Twin Cities, along with about 10 special bike racks as a seed for a permanent bike-sharing program in the community."

Way to go Humana and Bikes Belong. This is an outstanding idea to spread the concept of bike-sharing to individuals from around the U.S. With more bike-sharing proponents around the U.S., the greater the idea will spread and quicker the environment and public health will benefit.

image credit: Churchill County

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Updated Velib' Stats

The latest Velib' survey results are available and posted on the Velib' Website. Just in case you don't parlez Français, here's a summary:

  • Trips to date: 20 million
  • Average trips/day: 70,000
  • Average trip time: 18 minutes
  • 190,000 annual pass holders
  • 42% of users are female, 58% are male
  • 1/3 of users come from outside the central city
  • 17% of users are 46+ years old
  • 94% of users like the service
These results are highly impressive. The stats that amazed me the most are the number of trips to date and the percentage of female users. As Velib' is not yet one year old, there are still about two months of trips still to be made which could equate to another 5 million trips, or a total of 25 million trips, before the anniversary of it's launch date of July 15.

Having nearly the same percentage of female and male customers shows how mainstream bike-sharing has become in Paris. In cities where lesser bike cultures exist, such as those in North America, males tend to dominate bike usage by 3 to 1. Women are less likely to ride a bike when concerned about their safety compared to men. Men also tend to be generally more risk-taking and will ride in less safe street conditions. While not 50/50, this male/female customer demographic shows that women are using Velib' confidently, so Paris has done a good job in creating safe bike facilities before the launch of the program.


image credit: Velib'

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Busy Day in Philly

Yesterday the Philadelphia City Council held a public hearing to discuss the feasibility of a bike-sharing program. reports:

"There was consensus in a City Council hearing yesterday that a shared-bicycle program in Philadelphia would help clear traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and improve the health of the people doing the pedaling.

"The question now: How to put such a program in place?

"One approach is to create a nonprofit agency to buy and service the bicycles and install racks across the city where they will be stored.

"That model has been used by PhillyCarShare, a nonprofit that allows members to use cars parked in designated spots.

"Another approach is to strike a deal with a company that services 'public furniture' - bus shelters, subway stations, public toilets and newsstands - to manage the bicycles program."

Surely more to come...

There's a great 1-minute video from JCDecaux on the development, construction, and implementation of Velib' here.

A brief update on D.C.'s program: 7 of the 10 stations are constructed. The goal is to launch later this month as soon as the remainder of the stations are up and on-line. Can't wait. (I spoke recently with New Hampshire Public Radio about D.C.'s upcoming program.)

Image credit: Pound for Pound