Portland’s Long-Awaited Bike-Share System Gets Off to an Impressive Start

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife, Nancy, lead a celebratory bike ride over the car-free Tilikum Bride at the launch of Portland's Biketown bike share yesterday. Photo: Jonathan Maus
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife, Nancy, lead a celebratory bike ride over the car-free Tilikum Crossing at the launch of Portland’s Biketown bike-share system. Photo: Jonathan Maus

Tuesday was a very exciting day in Portland, as the city celebrated the launch of its long-awaited bike-share system, Biketown. The network makes 1,000 bikes available in an eight-square mile area of the city.

Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland shot these photos of the opening festivities and crunched some numbers from the first 24 hours of service. While it’s too early to fully assess the system, with about 2.3 daily trips per bike immediately after launch, Portland is off to a good start, he writes:

According to numbers released by Biketown’s operator Motivate Inc. today (at our request), there have been 2,366 trips taken on the system since it was launched yesterday at 11:30 am…

It’s still very early and the numbers will get more useful once we’ve got a full month of data — but we can’t resist doing a bit of comparison.

So far Portland’s bikes get more rides per day than the ones in Minneapolis’ Nice Ride system got after five years in service. Nice ride, which has much lower station density than Portland, got 1.6 trips per bike per day on average in 2014 (source: NACTO). On the other end of the scale, Chicago’s Divvy bike share system and Citi Bike in New York City got 3.8 and 5.2 trips per bike in that year, respectively.

From a membership perspective, Biketown seems to be doing quite well. 1,252 annual memberships have been sold since they went on sale June 14th. Contrast that with Seattle’s bike share system which had 1,154 members at the end of its first full month post-launch.

Maybe the fact that Portland has a fairly substantial bike lane network and no helmet law is giving Biketown a leg up.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia issues a guide to biking during the DNC. The Reno Rambler feels jealous of Lincoln, Nebraska’s new protected bike lane. And Streets.mn delves into the values Pokémon Go in cities.

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