Does Bike Share Make Bicycling More Popular?

A neighborhood BIXI Station in Montreal. (Photo Courtesy GoCanada.com)

A neighborhood BIXI Station in Montreal.
(Photo Courtesy GoCanada.com)

When comparing bicycling to driving, there are many benefits to bicycling.  These include health benefits through active transportation, environmental benefits through reduced emissions, and traffic benefits through fewer automobiles on city streets.  However, many people are hesitant to try biking to work, resulting in a small portion of people that ride bicycles regularly.

Bike share represents an opportunity for people to test out bicycling in the city, but there is concern that it will only be used by people who already regularly ride bikes.  As bike share becomes a reality for Philadelphia, it’s important to know whether or not a Bike Share program will actually increase the number of bicyclists in the city.

A recent study examines the ridership levels Montreal’s BIXI Bike Share program over the course of its two-year implementation.  Specifically, the researches investigated whether bike share would affect the number of people that ride bicycles.  Researchers tracked usage among residents at the launch of the program, at the end of its first season, and at the end of its second season.

bikeshare-graph

The likelihood of bicycle riding has increased in neighborhoods with Bike Share Stations. (Graph Courtesy of The Atlantic Cities)

The results showed that Montreal residents who lived near a BIXI station were not only more likely to ride a bike compared to everyone, but they were also more likely to ride a bike at the end of the second season.  In short, this means that bike share will increase the likelihood of bike riding and not only serve existing cyclists.

The Philadelphia Bike Share program is set for 2014 and if the current bike share trends continue, it is expected to increase active and healthy transportation in the city.  So far, bike share stations will be placed throughout Center City and West Philly, where bicycling is most popular.  Where do you plan on going with Philly’s Bike Share?

Want to know more?

The Full Report: Impact Evaluation of Public Bicycle Share Program on Cycling

The Atlantic Cities: If you Build Bike Share, Riders will Come

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