Bike-Share and Open Streets: A Perfect Match

Photo: Erik Voss and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition via the Better Bike Share Partnership
Photo: Erik Voss and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition via the Better Bike Share Partnership

Open streets events, or ciclovias, give people a new way to explore their city’s streets. Without cars on the streets, they’re a natural opportunity for people who don’t usually ride a bike to hop on two wheels — and that’s precisely why it’s important to include bike-share systems in the mix, says Stefani Cox at the Better Bike Share Partnership.

Cox looks at how Atlanta and Minneapolis are turning to car-free events to get the word out about bike-share:

One of the biggest benefits to featuring bike share at open streets events is that it introduces bike share to individuals who may not yet have tried it out. […] At Atlanta Streets Alive, bike share operator CycleHop has used virtual hubs, where interested community members could try out Relay bikes within a specific radius.

In Minneapolis, bike share staff and outreach partners also work hard to connect with residents at open streets events. The Nice Ride Minnesota bike share system is an essential sponsor of the 2017 events, and each route includes at least one bike share station in its path.

“We do our best to be at the station that is on the route,” says Tina Cho, Access Manager for Nice Ride Minnesota. “We set up a booth, talk to folks, and usually have a promotion, like a half-off month. We interact with the customers — if people don’t know about Nice Ride we’ll educate them.”

Bike-share access also expands the possibilities of open streets events. In Minneapolis, for example, people can take garden tours using Nice Ride bikes. Many of the families that come to Atlanta Streets Alive only have bikes for their children; featuring bike-share at the open streets event gives parents an opportunity to rediscover bicycling, as well.

“It was a really good fit for us,” Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, told the Better Bike Share Partnership. “It met a key goal of our initiative — introduce people who don’t usually bike [to biking].”

More recommended reading today: Greater Greater Washington takes some lessons home from riding transit in Toronto. BikePortland reports on the city’s effort to crowdsource information about how people use bike corrals. And the Chicago Tribune speaks with Joanna Trotter, senior program officer of the Chicago Community Trust, about what it really means for a community to be walkable.

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