Let’s open our minds: All-kinds-of-bike-sharing
26 January, 2018
Bike-sharing is developing fast currently, but is always using classical adult bikes. When you look at the diversity in the bike market, with cargo, trikes, recumbents, handibikes… you can see that their are a lot of other possibilities, to adapt to more user and more usage. Of course, I’m not asking for big scale schemes, but just to allow users to choose cycling for specific situations. And well, some cities catch the breakaway, and developed innovative programs.
The concept of kids bike-sharing allows to create a generation of people who will consider cycling as a proper mean of transportation. It will give them confidence and experience to ride safely in the cities of tomorrow. It is definitely a way to change cultural transport behaviour! On the practical side, the low price of those bikes makes it easy to finance.
Fortaleza, Brazil, launched in july 2017 Minibicicletar, little brother of Bicicletar, a real kids bike-sharing program with 50 bikes available in 10 stations around the city. The bikes are equipped with retractable training wheels and can be rented for free with the transit card, when children have the parental authorization signed.
In Paris, Vélib’ also has (had? not sure it is still the case with the new operator) its little brother P’tit Vélib’. Launched in 2014 by JC Decaux, the fleet is composed of 300 kids bikes and balance bikes. Unlike Fortaleza, the renting was not automatised, and only available in 5 green and pedestrians spaces across the city during summer. The usage is free for the first half hour.
Historically, most of the bike-share schemes were public before the disruption of dockless bike-sharing. And public implies equity of access for EVERYBODY. For disabled people too. To fight their isolation, for health reasons, we have to offer this possibility.
After taking incomes from disabled cyclist, Portland launched in 2017 the Adaptive Biketown pilot, cousin of the well-known Biketown scheme. In partnership with local shop Kerr Bikes, hand and foot powered trikes, along with side-by-side tandems were available for rent at (almost) the same price as classic bikeshare. The pilot is judged as successful, with 59 rides in total, allowing 40% of the riders to ride an adaptive bike for the first time, and will be developed in 2018.
Detroit is still in the development phase of its own program. Looking closely at Portland’s exemple, they are working on the type of bikes and renting process, thinking about adding secured racks close to bike-share stations to allow A-to-B trips.
Different bikes does not mean only different users, but also different usages! Bicycle appears more and more as the last mile logistics solution. What is true for companies is also true for citizens: when I’m going to do the groceries, I would prefer to come back with a cargo-bike rather than doing the return trip in my car, stuck in the traffic.
An automated solution has been implemented in Aspern, close to Vienna. Called SeestadtFLOTTE, this mixed classic/cargobike-share scheme has 4 E-cargobikes i:Sy e-Cargo, equiped with a locking system on top of the rear wheel. The locking mechanism is from Sycub, a local company, who provides multi-solution docking points. With a usage rate of 2 rides/cargobike/day, we can claim it is successful!
Another is operated by Nextbike in Nordsted and Constanz. Tink has been created in 2016, and has 12 cargobikes is each city. Is can be rented through a station in Nordsted, and through the Nextbike smartlock in Constanz. With a very active community around the program, many articles related its success.
Many other similar projects are supposed to appear across Germany in the next couple of years.
The other kind of solution, free or almost free renting, is developed in quite a lot of countries. Either supported by associations and NGOs, as in Switzerland, Ghent (BEL) or Ealing (UK), or companies, as in Hereford (UK) or Cambridge (UK), they propose cargobikes from specific locations (A-to-A trips) at very low prices.
All these kinds of bike-sharing may benefit from the recent trend coming from dockless bike-share. Associations, authorities, have to surf the wave and argue for different kinds of bike-share, to extend the users and usages of bicycle!