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)
It would have to be almost ridiculously easy to use and convenient so that I could hop on a bike, ride to the other side of the CBD, park the bike and go. If you are having to mess around with helmets and card swiping before you get on, I probably wouldn't bother.
The streets would have to be made much much safer for bikes too.
Thanks for your respopnses. I think I should have framed the question "do you think Adelaide should have a bike share scheme" not would you use it, because cyclists generally have bikes and ride them so why would they need to hire them?
My thinking on this has changed. I used to think, and have been on the record in print, that no we don't need one. We are lucky we have a free one that has been running for a while and has been sucessful. But I think we do need one now from the point of view that we as a city need to be seen to be a cycling city. Some of the worlds biggest cities have introduced them and for us it is a sign that Adelaide is committed to a car reduced city. A kick to change our culture. There will be knockers and statisticians who will say it only gets used 22.3% of the time, only 1.6% of the population use it and costs $Xyz but it's a cost we should cop to put us in a ranking of livable cities. We need to do it.
I would use it if I worked in the city on they days I couldn't commute. I hope it does happen.
Angus are you saying that statisticians are knockers?? :)
Seriously though, there was a doom and gloom report about Melbourne Bikeshare in the Age today Bike share scheme punctures expectations.
Knowing Adelaideans' propensity for liking to bag most things (I'm not talking about AC members here of course, just your average citizen and some of their favorite newspapers and talkback radio stations) I can see this type of scheme being really hard to get to fly here, even in spite of the already existing free program with its apparently good usage and Adelaide being a much more cycle friendly place to ride (especially for inexperienced riders). The report about Melbourne says there aren't enough bikes, you need 1000s of them so that there is always one available where ever you want to use it, otherwise people have to plan too much and then it doesn't seem to work. The conclusion being you can't just do a sort of trial (think Copenhagen bike lane fiasco in Sturt St) and then scale it up if it works - it actually relies on scale to work. Don't know if this is true, but I work in the city and if there was a bike share scheme on practically every corner I would definitely use it to wizz between meetings and save a bit of time compared to walking. But I'd want to know I could park the bike back in a hire scheme bay when I got where I was going and that there'd be another bike waiting when I came out of the meeting and wanted to go back. In this scenario I would probably never take my own bike because it's too much of hassle carrying the lock, helmet, risking the grease tattoo on the work clothes etc. for a 5 min ride.
No, there will be knockers..... and statisticians will have to provide data for parlimentary enquiries and budget reports etc and those stats will be knocked.
I just think we need to not look at the cost or loss per unit or day but at what it does to the city and what it shows we are committed to. It's like carbon tax. We need to spend money to help ourselves and future users of this city.
I'll have to read the Age piece, thanks for this.
i've been dependent on such schemes in other cities, in other countries...as an oustider, a foreigner, a visitor, they let me tap into the city in a way i can't through other modes
i don't need it here in my own city...but we still have outsiders, foreigners, visitors, coming to our city
build it, and they will come
Mandatory helmet laws is the biggest issue, but yeah it would be great to have a bike share bike at the toll gate linking the Hills buses with norwood and places like that. Its often unpractical catching a bus into town just to catch it back out of town in a similar direction.
Bike share can compliment public transport extremely well, in theory you can catch public transport from way out woop woop and jump straight on a bike share bike without waiting for another form of motorised transport or stressing about missing your connecting bus or train or whatever. Unfortunately we just don't get it in Aussieland yet and our designated cycle routes are often either unpractical or non existent.
Maybe if the council or government got behind it and gave out free helmets once a month people would start carrying helmets around with them, but yeah it would take the spontaneity out of things.
I have utility cycled for years. Sometimes left home early on a cool day for studies, expecting to return after dark. Wearing T-shirt and baggy shorts with tracksuit on top (layering for when in airconditioned room) plus packed rain-gear in case raining when returning home. Pack lights, text books, food, flavoured milk in vacuum flask. On Fridays add shopping list and mesh bags to shop at Central Market on the way home. One can plan the day or veto carrying helmet for bike share scheme.
What Adelaide BUG tried to get to Adelaide in 1996 was racks on public buses for bicycles. Would extend the distance or routes travelled. Vetoed. Now done in Brisbane and Canberra. At the BISA AGM of 2009 when SA Transport Minister was guest speaker, an attendee asked for this quite strongly. However, Conlon vetoed because it would slow public transport.
While the idea of carrying bikes on buses and trains is good, it suffers from two drawbacks. The first is that packing and unpacking a bike from a rack on the front of a bus does slow it down. It is not such a problem with trains because bikes are just wheeled on and off. The second problem is with capacity. Carrying bikes on trains is fine at the moment with so few people actually using bikes but imagine if we had a 10 or 20% modal share. There simply would not be the room. That's where I think Doddsy is right and bike share, or just proper infrastructure, can compliment public transport so well.
There are train lines all the way up to Gawler and down to Noarlunga (soon to be Seaford). The catchment area of the stations could be greatly increased with generous undercover parking and safe & pleasant routes leading to them.
A bit off topic from bike share. Sorry.