A writer for Grist.org today writes about their experience with Washington's bike share.
So a simple question:
If Adelaide had a bike share scheme would you use it? Not the current one but one modelled on Melbourne, Brisbane, Paris and Washington to name a few. At a cost per use (occasionally there is free periods), BYO or hire a helmet (with disposable hair net) and most importantly 24hrs and drop off at any other hire station.
And the fact that CaBi, as Capital Bikeshare is known, has added a new word to the language in Washington is one indicator of how it is changing the way this city thinks about transportation -- and has the potential to profoundly change the way people see and experience the city.
A recent essay by Kasey Klimes on Next American City talked about the radically transformative potential of bikes in an urban environment:
Yes, the bicycle is a stunningly efficient machine of transportation, but in the city it is so much more. The bicycle is new vision for the blind man. It is a thrilling tool of communication, an experiential device for the beauty and the ills of the urban context. One cannot turn a blind eye on a bicycle -- they must acknowledge their community, all of it ...
Invite a motorist for a bike ride through your city and you'll be cycling with an urbanist by the end of the day. Even the most eloquent of lectures about livable cities and sustainable design can't compete with the experience from atop a bicycle saddle.
The beauty of bikeshare systems is that they open this experience to a wider range of people. They make bicycles more visible and accessible, integrating them into the larger transportation network.
photo: UNSW Sustainability (Flickr.com/CC)
You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink.....ultimately I think that all bike share schemes are going to fail in places like Australia (and the US) until a substantial proportion of the residents in cities fundamentally change their views on bikes and cycling.
Currenlty, I would guess that a survey of 1000 random Adelaidites would rate cycling as one or more of the following:
1. Its too dangerous
2. Im too old
3. It doesnt fit my lifestyle
4. Cycling is for greenies (and a whole pile of other unwarranted stereotypes)
5. Its not fast enough
6. I dont like helmet hair
7. I cant ride very far
In some parts of Europe, cycling doesn't have these major hurdles to cross before there is a take up of bike share schemes. I remember sitting in the centre of Leiden a few years back on a Friday evening and watching groups of teenagers meet up and head off on a night out, and they were all riding bikes (or dinking each other). Could you image walking through Rundle Mall on a Friday night and seeing groups of kids hanging out on their bikes together???
In Australia there needs to be a fundamental shift in attitudes towards public transport, bikes and walking (ie reducing car usage). The "carrot" may include bike share schemes but in general, humans dont respond well to carrot-type approaches (unlike Pavlovs dog), so I fear that the only real solution will be a stick approach (ie making car driving so financially unviable that people are forced to use alternatives). Sadly even the most extreme pricing "stick" may still fail (cigarettes are a classic example)
I agree about the need for a shift in attitudes toward public transport, walking and cycling.
However the physical area that Australian cities cover compared to the cities in Europe is a significant impediment to the large scale take up of walking and cycling as an alternative to using a car. Leiden has an area of approx 23 sq. km and a population of 117,000 compared to Adelaide's approx 1,800 sq. km and 1,200,000 and it has a population density over 8 times that of Adelaide. Ask the kids in Leiden if they would still be riding the bikes if they had to travel 30 to 40 km to get to the city centre before they headed off for their night out and then the same trip home after the night out.
And I don't agree with punishing people financially for their lifestyle choices, and this also includes overtaxing cigarettes and alcohol as a deterrent to their use. However I do agree with the laws restricting where cigarettes and alcohol can be used.
You would be better of doing something like only allowing cyclists and pedestrians in the whole of Adelaide's CBD.
I would not use a bike share scheme in Adelaide if I had to pay for it. Would consider if away from home. Did hire a bike at Homebush Bay, NSW, to check out the many bicycle lanes there in this newish housing development, built first for housing athletes during the Sydney Olympic Games. Happened upon a lake with many water birds, so glad I packed my compact binoculars.
I have twice considered using the free City Bike Scheme in Adelaide, both times when my bike was getting maintenance done. The first time I walked to Bicycle SA that then was sited on Hurtle Square, close to my lbs. They only had men's diamond frame bikes there, so I vetoed it. The second time the lbs wanted my bike for much of the day. I needed to get to several places some streets apart, the first being from Hurtle Square to the ACC Customer Service Centre in Pirie Street to 'hire' the free bike. Decided to walk around the city instead.
The City Bike Scheme would be useful if hosting interstate visitors without their bikes.
I see many of the bikes around town and sometimes inner suburbs, so presume the scheme is well patronised. Once a group of Japanese tourists stopping at the Art Gallery on a tour.
Short answer to would I use it personally is probably not but only because I have a couple of bikes to cover for periods when one is out of service.
It would be great way to introduce friends to cycling though. When I visit other countries I always look to hire a bike. The free rental through Bike SA is fantastic but limited so any increase in options would be a good thing.
I' visited Barcelona last year and their bicycle rental system seemed to be very well patronized. No helmets required though.
A free alternative in Averio, Portugal seemed to be floundering a little but was set up along similar lines to pay systems, ie pay a small fee and recoup it when bike is dropped off at another defined point. The bikes apparently had built in tracking devices.
No I wouldn't use a bike share scheme in Adelaide (I assume your talking about the CBD) as I'm either on my own bike or I walk.
If you mean metropolitan Adelaide as well, I still wouldn't use a bike share scheme cause I could either walk or ride my own bike if my destination is close enough.
bike share schemes in areas where helmets are mandatory are doomed.
the idea is that you can just go up to each station and ride whenever you want, without any planning - if you have to plan ahead to bring a helmet, it won't be used. and most people wouldn't want to use a helmet that's been worn by somebody else.
i agree, but for most people such a scenario would result in a non-cycling interstate trip.
bike share schemes are there to try and get non-cyclists cycling or give usual cyclists a handy option every now and again.
i'd love an adelaide bike share scheme, and would get as many people as possible to use it but i think that it'll inevitably be underused.
i like the current scheme and the way it gets out to the Torrens to give it some locational flexibility
They have one in Montreal. It was fairly popular while I was there; Montreal has a fair bit of cycling downtown and some separated bike lanes like on De Maisonneuve that run near the Metro so it's pretty convenient. I used to commute to work once the ice had melted - had my own bike however. You'd still see people on bikes (fixies) there during winter.
The other thing is that helmets aren't mandatory.
Never really copped abuse there like you do here, except from Taxi drivers.
I personally would if there was a hub with car parking all day a half hour or less from cbd eg along a bike path.
I live at Birdwood & sometimes have driven to Modbury or Athelstone with bike on car, parked & ridden to work in cbd. Its cheaper than $11 a day parking fee. Sometimes park in the streets of St Peters & do same.
They would need to be open from at least 8am in morning for me to get to work by 830
Unfortunately I doubt Adelaide has population density to make it work