Bike Sharing Picks Up Speed

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Bike sharing has been all over the news recently.

Forbes just ran an article noting that New York's CitiBikes program has clocked 1 million miles of use. The bike sharing program has only been open for one month.

"As of [6/23/2013] the system has registered almost half a million rentals, with the average ride lasting 19 minutes and 54 seconds.

...Meanwhile, Chicago is getting ready to launch its bike sharing program, Divvy Bikes, at the end of the week."

Across the country, Aspen, Colorado has gotten on-board as well. From The New York Times:

"Never one to fall behind trends, Aspen, Colo. proclaims itself the first mountain town with a bike share program. Its new We-Cycle fleet includes 100 bikes parked at 13 stations around town."

These positive steps come with positive press. On June 24 Yahoo! News ran a story promoting the health benefits of bike sharing programs.

"With bike sharing plans rolling out on city streets from New York City to Budapest, experts say city streets are becoming as fitness-friendly as country trails.

Even short cycling jaunts can make a difference in the health of city dwellers.

"If you were driving a car and switched to biking, that 10 minutes going and coming a day would be a big deal," said Dr. Robert Oppliger, an exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine.

Oppliger, an avid cyclist, said even a two-to-three mile (3.2 to 4.8 km) spin can yield significant health benefits.

"There's a lot of information coming out on something called active transport that compares traveling by bike or public transit to traveling by car," he said. "The benefits are significant the more mobile you are."

Government guidelines recommend adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week. Cycling, he said, can be part of that.

It is clear that bike shares can and should be part of a 21st century total-transit plan. They promote health, and they're fun, which is a winning combination.