Published on October 17th, 2012 | by James Ayre3
California Moving Towards Large Bike-Sharing Programs
The US has long lagged behind Europe, with regards to bike sharing and bike infrastructure. Currently, California isn’t home to any large bike-sharing programs, but within the next year there will be at least five opening in major Californian cities.
For those that may not know, a common bike-sharing program is a collection of automated stations that are placed at relatively close intervals to each other and allow users who possess a day pass or annual membership to check out bikes simply with a swipe of a card. The checked out bikes can generally then be dropped off at any other vending station once the user has reached their destination.
“Nobody is going to be commuting across the city on bike share,” said Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. “It gives them mobility within the destination area for that first-mile, last-mile… it allows people to go out to lunch without having to worry about re-parking.”
Bike sharing has long been a part of large European cities like Paris, Barcelona, and London. Recently, some American cities, such as Denver, NYC, Boston, and Washington, D.C. have also started up ambitious programs. And now, California is scheduled to open bike sharing systems in Anaheim, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco and some other cities near the Caltrain corridor.
“Bike advocacy groups, which have long lobbied for making California’s streets more friendly to cyclists, are hailing bike sharing’s arrival—even if planned improvements to cities’ respective bicycle infrastructures remain years away.”
The rapid deployment of bike sharing programs in California is at least in part thanks to the great success that other areas have already had with them.