State of the City: Bike Share W-S

Didn’t your parents teach you to share?

Sharing is a good thing… especially when it involves bikes!  Of course BeersNGears wants more people to ride bikes and bike share is a great way to make that happen!  “Bike sharing” is an innovative transportation program, ideal for short distance point-to-point trips providing users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike-station and return it to any other bike station located within the system’s service area.

bike share demo

Winston-Salem is considering implementing a Bike Share program and we think that is awesome. Cities all across the country, and the world, have benefited from Bike Share programs which make all the benefits of cycling accessible to everyone and in turn the whole city reaps the benefits.  Charlotte’s B-Cycle, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, launched in 2012 and has been an asset to the community and helped many get riding and enjoying their city.

The benefits

  • It’s super convenient and accessible. Anyone with a few bucks can just get a bike and go. Bikes normally have lights, locks and baskets.
  • It stimulates the local economic activity by making it easier to get to and around downtown businesses for work and play
  • It reduces driving trips and the demand for parking spaces. Considering how much wear and tear cars have on the road any trips by bike save the entire city money on maintenance.
  • It helps transit users with the first and last mile of their trips.
  • It’s great for tourism as visitors love to ride bikes to discover a new city.
  • It promotes sustainability and healthy lifestyles which reduces healthcare costs
  • It gets people, young and old, on bikes and riding. When ridership in a city increases so does safety, funding for bicycle infrastructure projects, and general happiness.

How it works

charlotte-bcycle80393999c9296398bf9bff0100d70bc4While the bikes, technology and costs vary from one program to another, the basic process is as follows: visit a bike share station and use a credit card to get a bike (it’s normally pretty inexpensive, like $8 for a day pass), you ride around (to the coffee shop, to a meeting, down the greenway for some exercise, whatever you want) and when you are done you return the bike to any bike share station (there are many located around the city).

As far as the operations go, the bike share vendor handles everything. They provide the bicycles and stations along with the necessary software and technology. They handle customer service, promotions and user analytics. They also work with local mechanics contracted to maintain bikes and balance the fleet and the vendor will fix and replace bicycles as necessary.

Bike-Share-1In case you’re wondering, vandalism and theft affects a very small number of bikes due to well designed programs. The docking stations are super secure and all bicycles are equipped with GPS tracking and the credit card used for reserving the bike provide additional accountability. These bikes also look unique and use specialized parts so it would be pretty hard to offload one of these bikes.

Many vendors nowadays offer customizable programs that don’t require large capital investments and are flexible and expandable so cities don’t have to take a big risk to try out a bike share program.

Where do I sign up?

Bike ShareNow is a great time for Winston-Salem to join the growing group of cities benefiting from this kind of shared economy. Our bicycle culture and infrastructure is growing, people are trying to live healthier and sustainable lifestyles so it’s a perfect time to get more people riding.

 

If you want Winston-Salem to look into establishing a bike share program here then please be sure that our elected officials know that!!

We need as many people as possible to attend the Public Works Committee meeting on Tuesday, September 13th at 6pm at City Hall (101 N Main Street) to show support for this program! If you cannot make it to the meeting please send an email to the committee members to indicate your support….

 

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