Getting around by bike has recognised health benefits and, unlike driving a conventional car, does not contribute to environmental problems like air pollution and climate change. When drivers substitute their car for a bike they are also directly reducing congestion and the need for car parking spaces. Shared bike schemes are increasingly becoming an important tool for transport planners to increase the uptake of cycling and facilitate door to door travel.
What is Bike Share?
Bike share can be broadly defined as any setting where cycles are pooled for multiple users, models include Public Bike share (PBS): Self-service on-street docking stations, workplace pool bikes, railway station hubs, loans, lockers and peer to peer sharing. Please note the statistics below refer only to self-service automated schemes.
On-street bikes arrived on the streets of London in 2010, this highly successful scheme has grown to over 14,000 bikes accessed from more than 770 stations across London, echoing developments in other major cities across the world. Since then PBS has successfully been established outside the capital including Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Reading, Oxford and many other schemes. A key difference between PBS and other models is self-service, offering flexible and convenient drop off at a range of stations with prices encouraging short journeys maximising the utilisation of each bike.
Increasingly employers offer workplace pool bikes to their staff for business trips, Train Operating Companies offer bikes from hubs located at railway stations and various suppliers offer locker based bikes. The sector is innovating with smart lock dockless bike share, integrating with car share clubs and electric bike share is emerging in exclusively electric or mixed fleets. As in other areas of the economy, bikes are also attracting peer to peer sharing platforms.
Benefits of Bike Share
- Improves health and well-being by increasing the number of cycle trips
- Supports public transport by either:
- Relieving pressure on overcrowded public transport routes
- Increasing use of public transport with multi-modal trips
- Offering flexibility for journeys where services are limited
- Reduces car miles driven
- Provides improved access to jobs, education and amenities with “first / last mile” connectivity issues and pay-as-you-go cycling
- Develops tourism by offering an enjoyable way to link city leisure facilities
- Improves road safety by increasing visibility of cyclists
17 cities and towns have embraced PBS, at least 5 are in development. 17,000+ bikes are shared for over 10 million trips annually by 423,018 unique users. Over 1,000 bikes are located at 100 railway station hubs.
Public share is growing globally with now over 1,175 cities have PBS worldwide with 2,294,600 bikes (Source: The Bike-sharing map), of this total 11,000 electric-assist, mainly in China but increasingly in the UK, Europe and North America.