Following NYC’s Historic Launch, Bike-Share Poised to Pop Up Everywhere

Green bike symbols indicate existing bike-share systems, while all those blue question marks are cities with bike-share under development on ##https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=214135271590990954041.00043d80f9456b3416ced##this fantastic map## by MetroBike.

Yesterday was a momentous day for sustainable transportation: New York City launched its Citi Bike system, logging a record-breaking 6,050 trips and 13,768 miles on its first day. Already the biggest bike-share system in the country, it’s on track to expand to nearly twice its current size.

Somehow it feels like New York popped the cork and now champagne is bubbling out all over the country. Chicago just got its first look at the bikes for its system, called Divvy, due to launch in June, with memberships going on sale next week. Right across the river from New York, Hoboken is launching a dock-less bike-share system this week. Aspen, Colorado, hops on the bandwagon a week from tomorrow. Columbus, Ohio, should gets its 300 bikes in July.

Los Angeles and Long Beach were supposed to be rolling as of last month, and now it looks like December, maybe. Austin was supposed to launch its system this month but it’s been delayed, too.

San Francisco will get its system, at long last, in August, starting with 700 bikes at 70 stations and growing to 1,000 bikes shared with Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose. SF has aspirations to increase its number of bikes to 2,750 over the next few years. Meanwhile, Portland will make a bid to reclaim its status as the gold standard for American bicycling when it gets bike-share next spring, but it will be a rather late addition to the bike-share ecosystem.

As bike activist Elly Blue mused in a conversation with Streetsblog recently, “who knew” bike-share was going to be the next ground-breaking innovation in bicycling? When it arrived to DC a few years ago, some cyclists thought, “Well, this is nice for tourists but I already have my bike.” Meanwhile, others immediately saw the utility of bike-share for days with unpredictable weather, meet-ups with friends, linking up with transit, and walk-up apartments without bike storage. It was an instant hit, helping to inspire all these other cities to start their own systems.

Bike-share results in an immediate, visible increase in the number of bikes on the road, making everyone safer by putting drivers on alert that they’re sharing the street with other modes. And it has countless other benefits too: In DC, it has helped its 22,200 members change transportation habits so much that they’ve reduced their annual miles driven by more than 198 miles each, on average — totaling 4.4 million miles not driven each year because of bike-share.

Just imagine how it will transform your city.

  • It’s amazing to see this explosion of bikeshare systems across the country. I was here in D.C. when ours first rolled out, and it’s still crazy to realize just how popular the services is. Now if only we could get the ultimate prize: reciprocal memberships that let you use your key in other cities when on vacation or visiting friends and family.

  • Anonymous

    Seattle is launching it’s bike share system this year too. They just got a look at their bikes last week. It’s shaping up to look great – serving the densest and most bike-friendly neighborhoods.

    I’m excited A LOT for the bike share in SF, but the initial launch is going to be ridiculous. The first phase that the MTA is planning is for SoMa and the Financial District? Why? I think the launch needs to include the Mission, Lower Haight/Hayes Valley, and Castro to make sense. Riding a bike in SoMa and the FiDi is the worste. Not a good advertisement for an awesome service.

  • Anonymous

    It’s taken soooo long! Velib launched in Paris over 6 years ago and revolutionized biking there, which was modeled after the system in Lyon launched 2 years prior, which revolutionized biking there.

    I realize that we, as Americans, think that we’re the center of the universe and somehow markedly different than Europe or Asia (or even Canada — Montreal’s system launched in 2008), but it’s been a massive shift in mobility for the last 8 years around the world. The fact that we’re just now understanding it, and a true functioning system will (hopefully?) come to SF almost a decade later, shows how incredibly slow out processes areI can’t believe we’d even still be discussing this after the obvious success bike shares have seen around the world since 2005. This is not surprising in the least, it’s just about time.

  • That LA article is actually from 2012; December was supposed to be the original opening date. An April 2013 opening was announced for a six-station beta test in downtown LA, but we haven’t heard or seen anything since.

  • Anonymous

    Baltimore is looking at a system that is reciprocal with CaBi. CitiBike may end up being reciprocal with CaBi as well.

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