December 12, 2013

Public Bike Share Exposed: Bicycles are not Potatoes

This is a repost from April, 2012

Is public bike share ... public exposure? Some think the Emporer Wears No Clothes.

The program, treated more like an unwanted child than a prodigal son, ends up being a game of hot-potato between government agencies. 

And when the 'potato' drops on the ground?  Bicycles get the blame.

That's why the government needs to be conscientious of the private bicycle industry that 'shares' their space. 

First, public officials need to recognize the difference in Public Bike Share and Private Bike Rental.  Bike share need to be clearly classified as part of the overall transportation system. Taxis are not rental cars are not buses are not trains.

The cost and design of bike share bikes makes their best use for 'last mile' trips; quick errands, lunch meetings, etc.  Compare this to a private bike rental - best suited for distance, speed, and flexibility.

Secondly, the government needs to FEED THE BICYCLE ECO-SYSTEM:

  1. Support local bicycle shops (promote on maps, bid out maintenance on public fleets)
  2. Encourage local cycling events (simplify permitting, subsidize police / EMT assistance)
  3. Protect vulnerable users (aggressively prosecute motorists that injur cyclists and pedestrians)
  4. Build protected bike ways

You might want to check to see if the Emporer is actually wearing clothes before you congratulate him on his new wardrobe.