A bicycle-sharing system, public bicycle system, or bike-share scheme,
is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to
individuals on a very short term basis for a price. Bike share schemes
allow people to borrow a bike from a "dock" and return it at other
dock in the city, as long as the two docks belong to the same system.
Docks are similar to bike racks, except that all the bikes are locked
into the dock, and can only be released a computer located in a kiosk
at one end. The user enters their payment information, and the
computer unlocks one of the available bikes. When the user returns the
bike, they place it in the dock, and enter their information into the
computer, and it locks the bike into the dock.
Many bike-share systems offer subscriptions that make the first
30–45 minutes of use either free or very inexpensive, encouraging
use as transportation. This allows each bike to serve several users
In most bike-share cities, casual riding over several hours or days is
better served by bicycle rental than by bike-share. For many systems,
smartphone mapping apps show nearby stations with available bikes and
Bike-share began in Europe in 1965 and a viable format emerged in
the mid-2000s thanks to the introduction of information technology. As
of June 2014[update], public bike share systems were available in
50 countries on five continents, including 712 cities, operating
approximately 806,200 bicycles at 37,500 stations. As of
May 2011[update], the
bike-share systems in China were the largest in the world, with around
90,000 and 60,000 bicycles respectively. Of the world's 15 biggest
public bike share programs 13 of them are in China. By 2013, China
had a combined fleet of 650,000 public bikes. With the arrival of
dockless bike shares, there are now over 70 private dockless
bikeshares operating a combined fleet of 16 million sharebikes in
alone has 2.35 million sharebikes from 15
in Paris is the largest outside China.
The countries with the most dock based systems are Spain (132), Italy
(104), and China (79). As of July 2013[update], the systems
with the higher market penetration are both operating in France, the
with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants and
with one bike per 121 residents.
Bicycle-sharing systems may be "Community Bike programmes" organised
by local community groups or non-profit organisations as done in IIT
Bombay; "Smart Bike programmes" implemented by government agencies
sometimes in a public–private partnership as in London, or "smart
bike programmes" operated by private companies as is the case in most
cities in China. Their central concept is to provide free or
affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in an urban
area as an alternative to motorised public transport or private
vehicles, thereby reducing congestion, noise, and air pollution.
Bicycle-sharing systems have also been cited as a way to solve the
"last mile" problem and connect users to public transit networks.
People use bike-share for various reasons. Some who would otherwise
use their own bicycle have concerns about theft or vandalism, parking
or storage, and maintenance. However, serving only stations,
the service resembles public transit, and has therefore been
criticised as less convenient than a privately owned bicycle used
door-to-door. Government-run bicycle-sharing programmes can also
prove costly to the public unless subsidised by commercial interests,
typically in the form of advertising on stations or the bicycles
BuBi, the biggest bicycle sharing system in Budapest,
by BKK and MOL with over 100 stations in the city.
E-bike sharing is becoming more popular. The e-bikes are generally
recharged upon parking them at their station. E-bikes extend the
range of the bikes and make cities with more difficult topographies
more accessible to biking. In 2009, Chiyu Chen proposed the
Hybrid2-system which stores some of the pedal power on a (ultra)
capacitor. Similar to vehicle-to-grid systems, the energy is then fed
back to the main electricity grid. The Ohio State University
announced plans to integrate electric assist bicycles as part of its
bicycle share program launching in 2015.
2.1 Long-term checkout
2.2 Partnership with public transport sector
2.3 Partnership with car park operators
2.4 Partnership with car-share operations
3 Bike-sharing systems by country
184.108.40.206 Mysuru (Mysore)
220.127.116.11 New Delhi
3.2.6 United Kingdom
3.3 North America
3.3.2 Costa Rica
3.3.4 United States
18.104.22.168 Portland, Oregon
22.214.171.124 Tucson, Arizona
126.96.36.199 Madison, Wisconsin
188.8.131.52 Boston, Massachusetts
184.108.40.206 Bikes Belong (Dem/Rep Conventions), 2008
220.127.116.11 Washington D.C. & Northern Virginia
18.104.22.168 Fort Worth, Texas
22.214.171.124 New York City, New York
126.96.36.199 Jersey City, New Jersey
188.8.131.52 San Francisco Bay Area
184.108.40.206 Baltimore, Maryland
220.127.116.11 Columbus, Ohio
18.104.22.168 Manhattan, Kansas
3.3.5 Dockless bike sharing in the United States
3.3.6 University partnerships in the United States
22.214.171.124 ofo (Pomona College)
3.4.1 Docked systems
3.4.2 Dockless Systems
4 Economic Impact
4.1 Positive Externalities
4.1.1 Reduction of Traffic Congestion
4.1.2 Reduction of Pollution
4.2 Negative Externalities
4.2.1 Reduced Parking
4.2.2 Urban Clutter
4.3 Pecuniary Effects
Internalization of Externalities
4.4.1 Public-Private Partnerships
4.5 Dangers of Over-Supply
5 Health Impacts
7 List of bike sharing systems
8 See also
11 External links
Bicycle-sharing systems are an economic good, and are generally
classified as a private good due to their excludable and rivalrous
nature. While some bicycle-sharing systems are free, most require some
user fee or subscription, thus excluding the good to paying consumers.
Bicycle-sharing systems also provide a discrete and limited number of
bikes, whose distribution can vary throughout a city. One person's
usage of the good diminishes the ability of others to use the same
good. Nonetheless, the hope of many cities is to partner with
bike-share companies to provide something close to a public good.
Public good status may be achieved if the service is free to consumers
and there are a sufficient number of bicycles such that one person's
usage does not encroach upon another's use of the good.
White bicycles for free use, in Hoge Veluwe National Park, the
Bike-sharing systems have undergone changes which can be categorised
into three key phases, or generations. These include the first
generation, called white bikes (or free bikes); the second generation
of coin-deposit systems; and the third generation, or information
technology (IT) based systems. Recent technological and operational
improvements are also paving the way for a fourth generation, known as
the demand-responsive, multimodal system.
Although users of such systems generally pay to use vehicles that they
themselves do not own, sharing systems differ from traditional
for-profit bike rental businesses. The first bike sharing projects
were largely initiated by local community organisations, either as
charitable projects intended for the disadvantaged, or to promote
bicycles as a non-polluting form of transport. In recent years, in an
effort to reduce losses from theft and vandalism, many bike-sharing
schemes now require a user to provide a monetary deposit or other
security, or to become a paid subscriber. Most large-scale urban bike
sharing programmes utilise numerous bike check-out stations, and
operate much like public transit systems, catering to tourists and
visitors as well as local residents. Some bike-sharing systems are
completely free like
Aarhus City Bikes
Aarhus City Bikes in Denmark.
To date, no publicly owned and administered bicycle sharing programme
has yet been able to consistently operate as a self-funding
enterprise, using only revenues generated from membership
subscriptions or user fees and charges. As a
consequence, most publicly owned bicycle sharing systems utilise
funding from public governmental and/or charitable sources. Bike
sharing schemes may be administered by government entities, nonprofit
private organisations, or via public-private partnerships.
Many bicycle sharing schemes have been developed by a variety of
organisations over the years, all based on one or more of the
In this type of programme the bicycles are simply released into a city
or given area for use by anyone. In some cases, such as a university
campus, the bicycles are only designated for use within certain
boundaries. Users are expected to leave the bike unlocked in a public
area once they reach their destination. Because the bike is not
required to be returned to a centralised station, ready availability
of such bicycles is rare, and since unlocked bikes may be taken by
another user at any time, the original rider is forced to find
alternative transport for the return trip.
Bicycle sharing programs
without locks, user identification, and security deposits have also
historically suffered large loss rates from theft and vandalism.
Most large 21st century systems use information technology (IT) for
bicycle reservations, pick-up, drop-off, and tracking.
A small cash deposit releases the bike from a locked terminal and can
only be retrieved by returning it to another. Since the deposit
(usually one or more coins) is a fraction of the bike's cost, this
does little to deter theft. Other bike sharing programmes have
implemented rules requiring the user to provide a valid credit card,
along with substantial security deposits for bicycles and mandatory
In this version of the system, bicycles are kept either at
volunteer-run hubs or at self-service terminals throughout the city.
Individuals registered with the program identify themselves with their
membership card (or by a smart card, via cell phone, or other methods)
at any of the hubs to check out a bicycle for a short period of time,
usually three hours or less. In many schemes the first half-hour is
free. The individual is responsible for any damage or loss until the
bike is returned to another hub and checked in.
Many of the membership-based systems are operated through
public-private partnerships. Several European cities, including the
French cities of
Lyon and Paris as well as London, Barcelona,
Stockholm and Oslo, have signed contracts with private advertising
JCDecaux in Brussels, Lyon, Paris, Seville, Dublin and Oslo;
Clear Channel in Stockholm, Barcelona, Antwerp, Perpignan and
Zaragoza) which supply the city with thousands of bicycles free of
charge (or for a minor fee). In return, the agencies are allowed to
advertise both on the bikes themselves and in other select locations
in the city. Some other programmes are not linked to an advertising
deal (for example Smoove) and are financed as a part of public
transportation scheme. These programmes attempt to reduce losses from
theft by requiring users to purchase subscriptions with a credit card
or debit card (this option requiring a large, temporary deposit) and
by equipping the bike with complex anti-theft and bike maintenance
sensors. If the bike is not returned within the subscription period,
or returned with significant damage, the bike sharing operator
withdraws money from the user's credit card account.
In China, there was a rapid increase in the size and use of private
app driven "dockless" bike share networks in the 2010s. Dockless bike
shares are designed whereby a user need not return the bike to a kiosk
or station; rather, the next user can find it by GPS. Over
30 private companies have started operating in China. In
Mobike and Ofo have become the world's largest bike share
operators with millions of bikes spread over 100 cities, mostly in
China. They have also spread elsewhere, where they have been
criticized as "rogue" systems instituted without respect for local
authorities. In some jurisdictions, authorities have been
conficascating “rogue” dockless bicycles that are improperly
parked for potentially blocking foot traffic on sidewalks.
Sometimes known as bike library systems, these bicycles may be lent
free of charge, for a refundable deposit, or for a small fee. A
bicycle is checked out to one person who will typically keep the bike
for several months, and is encouraged or obliged to lock it between
uses. A disadvantage of this system is a lower usage frequency, around
three uses per day on average as compared to 10 to 15 uses per day
typically experienced with other bike-sharing schemes.
Advantages of long-term use include rider familiarity with the bicycle
and a mode of travel that is always nearby and instantly ready for
use. The bicycle can be checked out like a library book, a liability
waiver can be collected at check-out, and the bike can be returned any
time. A Library Bike in a person's possession can be chosen for some
trips instead of a car, thus lowering car usage. The long-term rental
system generally results in fewer repair costs to the scheme
administrator, as riders are incentivised to obtain minor maintenance
in order to keep the bike in running order during the long rental
period. Most of the long-term systems implemented to date are funded
solely through charitable donations of second-hand bicycles, using
unpaid volunteer labour to maintain, and administer the bicycle fleet.
While reducing or eliminating the need for public funding, such a
scheme imposes an outer limit to program expansion. The Arcata Bike
Library, in California, has loaned over 4000 bicycles using this
Partnership with public transport sector
In a national-level programme that combines a typical rental system
with several of the above system types, a passenger railway operator
or infrastructure manager partners with a national cycling
organisation and others to create a system closely connected with
public transport. These programmes usually allow for a longer rental
time of up to 24 or 48 hours, as well as tourists and round trips. In
some German cities the national rail company offers a bike rental
service called Call a Bike.
In Guangzhou, China, the privately operated
Transit system includes cycle lanes, and a public bicycle system.
In some cases, like
Santander Cycles in London, the bicycle sharing
system is owned by the public transport authority itself.
In other cases, like
EnCicla in the city of Medellin (Colombia, South
Bicycle Sharing System is connected to other modes of
transportation, such as the Metro.
Partnership with car park operators
Some car park operators such as Vinci Park in France lend bikes to
their customers who park a car.
Partnership with car-share operations
City CarShare, a San Francisco-based non-profit, received a federal
grant in 2012 to integrate electric bicycles within its existing
car-sharing fleet. The program is set to launch before the end of 2012
with 45 bikes.
Bicycle station in the Washington, D.C., suburbs powered by solar
Many community-run bicycle programmes paint their bicycles in a strong
solid colour, such as yellow or white. Painting the bicycles helps to
advertise the programme, as well as deter theft (a painted-over
bicycle frame is normally less desirable to a buyer). However, theft
rates in many bike-sharing programmes remain high, as most shared-use
bicycles have value only as basic transport, and may be resold to
unsuspecting buyers after being cleaned and repainted. In response,
some large-scale bike sharing programmes have designed their own bike
using specialised frame designs and other parts to prevent disassembly
and resale of stolen parts.
Another advantage of bike-sharing systems is that the smart-cards
allow the bicycles to be returned to any station in the system, which
facilitates one-way rides to work, education or shopping centres.
Thus, one bike may take 10–15 rides a day with different users and
can be ridden up to 10,000 km (6,200 mi) a year (citing
Lyon, France). Each bike has at least one of these rides with one
unique user per day which indicates that in 2014 there were a minimum
of at least 294 million unique bike share cyclists worldwide (806,200
bicycles x 365) although common sense indicates that this figure may
be a very small estimate of the true number of bike share users.
It was found—in cities like Paris and Copenhagen—that to have a
major impact there had to be a high density of available bikes.
Copenhagen has 2500 bikes which cannot be used outside the 9 km2
(3.5 sq mi) zone of the city centre (a fine of DKr 1000
applies to any user taking bikes across the canal bridges around the
periphery). Since Paris's
Vélib' programme operates with an
increasing fee past the free first half-hour, users have a strong
disincentive to take the bicycles out of the city centre. The distance
between stations is only 300–400 metres (1,000–1,300 ft) in
inner city areas.
LinkBike station in George Town, Penang. The public bicycle sharing
service was launched in 2016.
BicikeLJ in Ljubljana, Slovenia
In May 2011, there were around 375 bikesharing systems comprising
236,000 bicycles, and by April 2013 there were around 535 schemes
around the world, made of an estimated fleet of 517,000 bicycles.
As of June 2014[update], public bikesharing systems were
operating in 50 countries on five continents, including 712 cities,
operating approximately 806,200 bicycles at 37,500 stations.
In 2012 the
Hangzhou Public Bicycle
Hangzhou Public Bicycle programs in China are
the largest in the world, with around 90,000 and 60,000 bicycles
respectively. China has seen a rise in private "dockless" bike shares
with fleets that dwarf systems in size outside China. One such
bike share alone, Mobike, operates 100,000 dockless bikes in each of
the cities of Shanghai, Beijing,
Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Another
Bluegogo operates 35,000 bikes in Shenzhen, 25,000 bikes in
Guangzhou, and 10,000 in Chengdu. Overall, there are more than 30
private bike share operators that have put over 3 million dockless
bikes in various cities in China. By late 2017, the Ministry of
Transport reported that China's dockless bike fleet has grown to 16
million bikes. The
Vélib' in Paris, which comprises around 18,000
bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations, is the largest outside China.
Santander Cycles in London has about 8,000 bikes, and New York City's
Citi Bike has about 6,000.
As of July 2013[update], the systems with the higher market
Velib' in Paris with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants,
Lyon with 1 bike per 121 residents, and
Hangzhou in China
with 1 per 145. Barcelona's
Bicing has 1 per 270, Montreal's
1 per 300, London's
Santander Cycles has 1 per 984, and New York
Citi Bike has 1 per 8,336.
A study published in 2015 in the journal Transportation concludes that
bike sharing systems can be grouped into behaviourally similar
categories based upon their size. Cluster analysis shows that
larger systems display greater behavioural heterogeneity amongst their
stations, and smaller systems generally have stations which all behave
similarly in terms of their daily utilisation patterns.
Bike-sharing systems by country
Dockless bike sharing was around in the UK during the early 20th
century in a town called Barton-on-Humber. The companies Falcon,
Coventry Eagle and
Elswick Hopper has massive factories there and the
companies also operated many sub businesses around town. Employees and
their spouses could ride shared bikes home or anywhere they wanted as
long as they left them at a relevant location.
Mobikes in Beijing
An Ofo bike
Initially, a number of traditional (third generation) docked public
bike systems operated by local municipal governments opened across
China, with the largest ones being in
Wuhan and Hangzhou. The first
was introduced in
Beijing in 2007. However, third generation bike
sharing is not considered successful for the majority cities in China.
Bike sharing in
Beijing virtually stopped and it also has encountered
Shanghai and Wuhan.
In 2014, students from Peking University created a company called ofo
and initialize the fourth generation bike sharing system in their
campus. In 2017, a number of private competing app-based dockless
bike-sharing programs have started to appear in numerous cities across
China. The two largest dockless operators are
Mobike and Ofo, others
Bluegogo and Xiaoming. Many Chinese cities have
experienced massive growth in the number and use these dockless
bikeshare programs, clogging sidewalks around major commercial hubs
and subway stations with parked bikes. Given the speed of growth
with these services, local governments did not have any regulations or
planning to accommodate these systems. However the Chinese
government encourages the development of dockless bikes to reduce
urban pollution. Early studies in
Shanghai have linked the
massive increase of dockless bike shares to the decrease in the number
of private automobile trips that are less than five kilometres. In
Guangzhou, the arrival of dockless bike shares had a positive impact
in the growth of cycling modeshare. The Transport Commission of
Shenzhen noted a 10% decrease in private car trips after the
introduction of dockless bike shares.
Ofo bikes randomly parked on the pavement (sidewalk) in Beijing
In March 2017,
Beijing saw over 200,000 dockless shared bikes from
various companies entered service. Near the end of 2017 it has grown
to 2.35 million for-hire bikes from 15 companies. The bikes are
accessible via an app, and cost 1 RMB per hour plus a refundable
damage deposit of 299 RMB. This is on top of the existing municipal
run dock based bike network with 86,000 bikes. The
government has pledged to improve management and parking availability
in response to the rapidly growing fleets of dockless bikes
Beijing cycling mode share increased from 5.5% to 11.6%
after the arrival of these dockless bike systems.
Guangzhou BRT has a bike share program integrated around its BRT
stations. According to the local government, in 2017,
Guangzhou has a
fleet of over 700,000 bikes in various public and private bike share
programs. On average 4 million trips each day were made using share
bikes. The local government is reviewing traffic management
strategies and road design standards to accommodate the increase in
Starting from around the beginning of 2017, Haikou, the capital of
Hainan province, experienced a massive increase in the number of
dockless bikes by Ofo, Mobike, and Quick To which and cost 2 RMB per
hour. The fourth is the
Haikou Public Bike System which is a
traditional municipal run docked system.
Before the arrival of private dockless systems,
Hangzhou was the
largest bike share system in the world until it was overtaken by
Wuhan. In 2011, the system had 2,050 bike-share stations with a fleet
of over 50,000 bikes and serving 240,000 trips per day. By 2015,
it was expanded to over 84,000 bikes and 3,354 stations.
Bikes from various bike-share companies in Shanghai
Shanghai Bike Authority estimated that there are 280,000 shared
Shanghai by March 2017, with a projected increase of 220,000
bikes by June. In March 2017, the government in
requesting a temporary ban on the introduction of new private
"dockless" shared bikes. 
Shanghai has prepared new regulations
that will restrict rider ages to between 12 and 70 and bikes in
service for more than three years in a row must be permanently
Mobike alone operates 100,000 bikes in
Shanghai and has
claimed to have made
Shanghai into the city with the world's largest
bike share network.
Wenzhou has multiple bike share programs serving different districts
of the city. The first one opened in 2012 serving Lucheng District
with about 5,000 bikes and 180 stations. Next year, a bike share
with 2,200 bikes and 66 stations opened in Longwan District. At the
same time, a separate bike share program with 1,040 bikes and 32
stations opened in Ouhai District. The latter of the two is being
expanded to 3,250 bikes and 109 stations. According to local
government records, more than 20,000 dockless bikes from various
private bike share companies have entered service in Wenzhou
Mumbai operates two schemes, and the Ministry of Urban Development
is preparing to launch a 10-city public bike scheme as part of its
"Mission for Sustainable Habitat".
MyByk cycle sharing program in Ahmedabad started with eight stations
within the city in 2013. Subscribers can keep bicycles as long as
required without having to return them to the stations.
Mysore is the first Indian city to initiate cycle sharing in 2009
with 28 locations as of 2009 and 52 planned locations.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) launched the first software
Bicycle Sharing scheme (PBS)’ as per which commuters
can rent cycles from a residential area and travel to the nearest
Metro station and then again rent a cycle from a departing Metro
station to the nearby localities.
One of the bicycle renting system has been initiated by PedalSaddle in
Pune providing cycles on rent for cost cheaper than public
transportation. Pune has India's first and biggest bicycle mall
ever with a total investment of Rs 5 crore. In January 2018, One
of China’s leading bicycle-sharing companies Ofo launched its
dockless bicycle-sharing services in Pune. In 2017, ENPRO
Industries, Pune took the initiative of promoting cycle to work.
The trend is catching on in some other cities including Rajkot,
Bhubaneswar. and Vadodara (Baroda)
Vélo'v in Lyon
Old defunct (2000 - 2010)
Helsinki city bikes
BikeMi, Milan, Italy
Following earlier bike-sharing systems, Denmark introduced the first
next generation bike-sharing system in 1991 in Farsø. This
small-scale scheme paved the way for the Copenhagen's ByCyklen
programme, which was introduced in 1995 and was the first large-scale
urban bike-sharing programme to feature specially designed bicycles
with parts which could not be used on other bikes. Riders paid a
refundable deposit at one of 110 special locking bike stands, and the
riders then had unlimited use of the bike within a specified 'city
bike zone'. The fine for not returning a bicycle or leaving the
bike-sharing zone was strictly enforced by the police. The founders
hoped to completely finance the programme by selling advertising space
on the bicycles. This funding source quickly proved to be
insufficient, and the city of Copenhagen took over the administration
of the programme, funding most of the programme costs through
appropriations from city revenues. Since it was free to the user,
there is no return on the capital invested by the municipality, and a
considerable amount of public funds was constantly used to keep the
system in service. In 2013 a new version was expected to be introduced
but the municipality of Copenhagen temporarily withdrew its support
and there were no free bicycles for most of 2013.
Copenhagen municipality changed its mind and a new version was
introduced in late 2013.
In 1974 the French city of
La Rochelle launched a free bike-sharing
programme, Vélos Jaunes (Yellow Bikes), featuring unisex bicycles
which were free to take and use. In terms of public usage and
acceptance, it is regarded today as one of the first truly successful
bike-sharing programmes. The programme continues today, albeit in
modified form (rental charges apply after the first two hours, and
personal identification is required for all bike rentals).
Since September 2016, BKK and MOL operates
Budapest with over
BikeMi is a public bicycle sharing system in Milan, Italy. It was
launched on 8 December 2008 and is contracted to and operated by Clear
Channel on the basis of its SmartBike system. The scheme
encompasses 4,650 bicycles (including 1,000 electric bicycles and
bikes for children) and 280 stations.
In 1965, the group Provo painted fifty bicycles white and scattered
them unlocked in downtown
Amsterdam for everyone to use freely.
The bicycles were both taken by people, and impounded by the
authorities, as a city ordinance forbade leaving unlocked bikes in
In September 1997, a pilot project for a public share system, based on
the UK's Grippa™ racks (see below) was established in Rotterdam, for
use by commuters, but it was terminated the following year due to
poorly functioning of the electronic bike racks.
In 1993, a Green Bike Scheme bike sharing programme was initiated in
Cambridge, United Kingdom, using a fleet of some 300 bicycles. The
overwhelming majority of the fleet were stolen or missing within a
year of the programme's introduction, and the Green Bike Scheme was
In an attempt to overcome losses from theft, the next innovation
adopted by bike sharing programmes was the use of so-called 'smart
technology'. One of the first 'smart bike' programmes was the
Grippa™ bike storage rack system used in Portsmouth's Bikeabout
scheme. The Bikeabout scheme was launched in October 1995
by the University of Portsmouth, UK as part of its Green Transport
Plan in an effort to cut car travel by staff and students between
campus sites. Funded in part by the EU's ENTRANCE programme,
the Bikeabout scheme was a "smart card" fully automated
system. For a small fee, users were issued 'smart cards'
with magnetic stripes to be swiped through an electronic card reader
at a covered 'bike store' kiosk, unlocking the bike from its storage
rack. CCTV camera surveillance was installed at all bike stations
in an effort to limit vandalism. Upon arriving at the destination
station, the smart card was used to open a cycle rack and record the
bike's safe return. A charge was automatically registered on the
user's card if the bike was returned with damage or if the time
exceeded the three-hour maximum. Implemented with an original
budget of approximately £200,000, the
Portsmouth Bikeabout scheme was
never very successful in terms of rider usage,[a] in part due to the
limited number of bike kiosks and hours of operation. Seasonal
weather restrictions and concerns over unjustified charges for bike
damage also imposed barriers to usage. The Bikeabout program was
discontinued by the University in 1998 in favour of expanded minibus
service; the total costs of the Bikeabout programme were never
Canada's largest bike share system is the
BIXI Montréal system. The
system was developed by PBSC Urban Solutions. Started in May 2009, it
has expanded to over 5000 bicycles at 450 stations. The Bixi
system was implemented in June 2009 in Ottawa/
Gatineau as Capital
Bixi, and in May 2011 in
BIXI Montreal, Quebec, Canada
From 2001 to 2006, BikeShare, operated by the Community Bicycle
Network (CBN) in Toronto, was for a time the most popular community
bicycle sharing program in North America. BikeShare was intended to
overcome some of the theft issues by requiring yearly memberships to
sign out any of the 150 refurbished yellow bikes locked up at 16 hubs
throughout central Toronto. At its height, over 400 members could sign
out a bike from any hub for up to three days. The hubs were located at
stores, cafes and community centres where the staff would volunteer
their time to sign bikes out and in. Despite steadily increasing
administrative, implementation, and maintenance costs, CBN could only
charge users around 20 percent of actual costs, as users were unlikely
to spend more than $50 per year for a membership. Without sufficient
funds in the form of private and government grants, CBN was forced to
discontinue BikeShare in 2006.
From 2005 to 2008, a largely unregulated bike sharing program was
operated by the Peoples' Pedal organisation in Edmonton, Alberta. The
program suffered from high theft and vandalism rates, with 95% of the
bikes that had been placed into service stolen or missing by
Vancouver has installed a bike sharing system, Mobi (bike
share), operated by CycleHop Corp. (
Smoove system), starting at 1000
bikes in June 2016, 1500 at the end of the summer, 2500 in 2017.
Cartago east of
San José, Costa Rica
San José, Costa Rica started a bikeshare
EcoBici bike sharing system in
EcoBici bicycles in
EcoBici is one of the world's largest programs, with 452
stations covering a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi)
Guadalajara: In December 2014, the government of the State of Jalisco
implemented a bicycle sharing system called MiBici with 86 stations
and 860 bicycles. As of October 2016, it has 236 stations with 2
thousand bicycles. This system uses the technology and the
hardware of PBSC.
Launched in 2013,
Divvy is the bike sharing program for
the largest in North America.
Capital Bikeshare was launched in
Washington, D.C. and Arlington
County, Virginia in 2010.
Solar powered Boulder
B-cycle station with double sided docks. The
system was launched in April 2010.
Citi Bike opened in
New York City
New York City in May 2013.
Bay Area Bike Share
Bay Area Bike Share system began operating in the San Francisco
Bay Area in August 2013.
Social Bicycles, in Hoboken, New Jersey.
One of the first community bicycle projects in the United States was
Portland, Oregon in 1994 by civic and environmental
activists Tom O'Keefe, Joe Keating and Steve Gunther. It took the
approach of simply releasing a number of bicycles to the streets for
unrestricted use. While Portland's Yellow Bike Project was successful
in terms of publicity, it proved unsustainable due to theft and
vandalism of the bicycles. The Yellow Bike Project was eventually
terminated, and replaced with the Create A Commuter (CAC) program,
which provides free secondhand bicycles to certain preselected
low-income and disadvantaged people who need a bicycle to get to work
or attend job training courses, and the 2016
In 1996, a pilot bicycle share project known as the Orange Bike
Project was organised in
Tucson, Arizona by Bootstraps to Share, a
homeless advocacy organisation inspired by the Bikes Not Bombs
movement. Using funds from a taxpayer-funded government grant to
obtain, recondition, and maintain 30 bicycles, project organisers
announced plans to station the bicycles in downtown Tucson and areas
adjacent to the University of Arizona. The publicly shared
bicycles, painted bright orange by
Earl Scheib to identify them, were
primarily intended for use by the homeless or those without means of
affordable transportation. The initial 30 bicycles placed into
service for the Orange Bike Project were all stolen within a few
weeks. A total of 80 bicycles were eventually used in the Orange
Bike Project, all of which were either stolen or vandalised beyond
repair. In one case, an Orange Bike Project bicycle was thrown in
front of a freight train, in others, bikes were found with major frame
damage consistent with deliberate vandalism. The program was
terminated after only five months of operation.
In 1996, Madison, Wisconsin, instituted its Red Bikes Project, a
public bike sharing program. These red-painted bicycles were available
for the use of the general public, primarily in the student areas of
State Street between the University of Wisconsin campus and the
Wisconsin State Capitol. Initially, the only rule regarding the use of
a Red Bikes Project bicycle was that it was required to remain outside
and unlocked, and thus available for any passerby. After a surge in
bicycle thefts and vandalism, the program was modified to require a
valid credit card and $80 in security deposits for both the bicycle
and the now-mandatory bicycle lock. The program is now only
available seasonally, from spring (when all snow has melted) to 30
Thomas M. Menino
Thomas M. Menino and Director of Bicycle
Programs, Nicole Freedman, decided to bring bike sharing to the Boston
area. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning
agency for the metro-
Boston region of 101 cities and towns, joined the
effort. Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville also participated. In
2011, the metropolitan area of
Boston launched its 60-station,
Hubway system, the contract to operate was awarded to Alta
Bicycle Share and the equipment provider was PBSC Urban Solutions.
Bicycle-sharing was an immediate success, recording 100,000
station-to-station rides in its first two and a half months. After
recording 140,000 trips in four months, Boston's European-style
bicycle-sharing system expanded outside city limits, planting stations
across Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline.
Hubway has over 100
stations throughout the Greater
Bikes Belong (Dem/Rep Conventions), 2008
In 2007, Bikes Belong, an advocacy group financed by major bicycle
manufacturers, worked with city officials, local advocates, and the
Humana to bring bikesharing to the Republican and
Democratic 2008 conventions. Called "Freewheelin!" the program offered
1,000 bicycles at 12 stations throughout the downtowns of the host
Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul, over the five days of each
convention. Bikes Belong's stated goal was to provide a
proof-of-concept that large-scale bicycle sharing that was exploding
in European cities could work in U.S. cities and provide a valuable
addition to the transportation mix. The program was popular among
conventioneers, and helped the city of
Denver to create a narrative
around the "green" attributes of the convention. Both
Minneapolis successfully pursued permanent bikesharing systems, with
B-cycle launching on 22 April 2010 as the first of its scale in
the U.S., followed by Minneapolis' NiceRide system launching on 10
Washington D.C. & Northern Virginia
In Washington, D.C., a privately operated bike-sharing project known
SmartBike DC opened for service in 2008 for the District of
Columbia with 10 stations and 120 bikes. Operated by an advertising
Clear Channel Outdoor, the system was funded by advertising
revenues from bus shelters on public streets, along with revenues from
user membership and usage fees. The program suffered from
perennially low membership and rider usage rates, as well as a limited
number of bike rental stations. It was officially terminated in
January 2011. On 20 September 2010, Arlington County, Virginia
District of Columbia
District of Columbia launched the U.S.'s first public-private
partnership bikeshare system, Capital Bikeshare, this time with local
government and federal funds and operated by
Alta Bicycle Share
Alta Bicycle Share (now
Motivate International) with equipment from Montreal-based PBSC Urban
Solutions. This system was the largest bike-share service in the
United States until May 2013. The system expanded into
Alexandria, Virginia in 2012 and Montgomery County, Maryland in
2013. In 2017 four competing dockless systems entered service.
Fort Worth, Texas
On 22 April 2013, Fort Worth Bike Sharing, a 501(c)3 non-profit
organization, launched a
B-cycle system consisting of 300 bikes and 30
stations serving Downtown, Near Southside, and Cultural District in
Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth
B-cycle is included in a
program called "B-connected" which allows members of over 15
B-cycle cities to use their annual memberships for free
in other cities.
New York City, New York
Citi Bike opened in
New York City
New York City in May 2013, with 6,000 bicycles and
330 docking stations in
Manhattan and Brooklyn. As of
Citi Bike is the largest bike sharing program
in the United States.
Zagster bike sharing station on a corporate campus in Burlington, MA
Jersey City, New Jersey
On September 21, 2015, the
Citi Bike system that started in New York
City in 2013 expanded across the Hudson River to Jersey City, New
Jersey, on September 21, 2015, with 35 stations and 350 bikes. One
membership works for both
Citi Bike New York and
Citi Bike Jersey
City In July 2016 the system experienced its first wave of
expansion with 15 new stations and 150 additional bikes. The system
now boasts 50 stations with 500 bicycles throughout Jersey City.
San Francisco Bay Area
In August 2013 the
Bay Area Bike Share
Bay Area Bike Share system began operating in the
San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area of California. The system allocated half of its
700 bicycle fleet in San Francisco, and the rest along the Caltrain
corridor in Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose.
In 2015, it was announced that the scheme would expand to 7,000 bikes,
over 2016-2017, and would include the East Bay Area communities of
Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland.
In May 2014, over 40 bicycles were stolen from
and Parks department's bike-share program. The bikes were stolen
during the city's Ride Around Reservoir program in Druid Hill Park.
The bikes were set up to be lent out when a group of youths took them.
The cost of replacing the stolen bikes is devastating to the program,
which operates completely on donations.
Columbus, Ohio started a CoGo share system in 2013, owned by the City
with the hardware provided by PBSC and operated by Motivate. In
Zagster launched a 115 bicycle, 15 station system on the
Ohio State University
Ohio State University campus. The university decided not to integrate
with the city's CoGo system.
In 2015, the Green Apple Bikes bike-share system started in Manhattan,
Kansas that makes single-speed cruisers available free for 4-hour
periods. The program is funded by a consortium of businesses, and
bicycles are maintained by volunteers.
In June 2017, the city of
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin partnered with Zagster
to incorporate an adaptive bike-share station into their existing
Bublr network. It is thought to be the first adaptive bike-share
station in Wisconsin, and the dual partnership is thought to be the
first of its kind in the United States.(ride share programs existed in
Madison Wisconsin for free)
Dockless bike sharing in the United States
Seattle was the first US city to use dockless bike sharing.
Washington, D.C. has four dockless bike-share
The City of
San Diego has a contract with Discover (formerly DECO)
Bike, a docked bike-share, but in January 2018 the city attorney Mara
Elliot opined that the city could still allow dockless bike sharing.
LimeBike began operating on February 15, 2018. As of
March 2018, Ofo, LimeBike, and
Mobike offer dockless bike rentals
within the city. Limbike and Bird offer electric scooters, and Limbike
offers electric pedal-assist bikes as well.
However, there have been some concerns in high-pedestrian
University partnerships in the United States
ofo (Pomona College)
ofo offers a partnership program with universities to provide
sustainable campus transportation intended to "[help] build a sense of
community in students, and [save] them money at the same time."
On February 21, 2018, ofo and
Pomona College in Claremont, California
launched the first college pilot program in California. The
collaboration will benefit not only the
Pomona College community, but
also the other
Claremont Colleges in the Claremont Consortium.
Melbourne Bike Share
Melbourne Bike Share (MBS), the first municipal bicycle share system
in Australia, was launched in
Melbourne in June 2010. It started with
10 stations. Usage has been lower than expected and has required
ongoing public subsidy. Take-up has been affected by the location of
docking stations and the legal requirement for riders wear helmets,
which are not provided with the bikes. Ridership doubled when $5
helmets were offered for sale from vending machines. Currently the MBS
uses 500 cycles at about 50 stations around Melbourne's central
The Brisbane CityCycle, operated by JCDecaux, started on 1 September
2010 and has grown to include 2000 bikes in 150 stations.
Its operation has depended on public subsidy. Initially, helmets were
not provided with the bikes, but this was later changed. After only
achieving 80,000 trips in its first twelve months,
this increased to 522,388 in the 2016-17 financial year.
In 2017 dockless systems were launched in a number of Australia
oBike has placed 1,000 bikes since July 2017.
Reddy Go started with 1,500 bikes, also in July 2017, and has expanded
to over 2,000 bikes.
Ofo launched with 600 bikes in October 2017.
Mobike distributed up to 500 bikes in November 2017.
oBike placed 1,250 bikes in
Melbourne since July 2017. There has been
notable vandalism of the bikes in the first few months, including
being dumping in the Yarra River.
Mobike expects to place 2,000 bikes in the Gold Coast area by January
Urbi bike-share began a 12-month trial operating within the City of
Joondalup in September 2017.
Bike-share programs generate a number of economic externalities, both
positive and negative. The positive externalities include reduction of
traffic congestion and pollution, while the negative externalities
include degradation of urban aesthetic environment and reduction of
parking. Furthermore, bike-share programs have pecuniary effects. Some
of these economic externalities (e.g. reduced congestion) can be
systematically evaluated using empirical data, and therefore may be
internalized through government subsidy. On the other hand, "nuisance"
externalities (e.g. street and sidewalk clutter) are more subjective
and harder to quantify, and may not be able to be internalized.
Graph depicting a market with a positive consumption externality.
Curves representing supply, private marginal benefit (demand) and
social marginal benefit are shown. Equilibrium and optimal prices and
quantities are marked. Deadweight loss is shown as the gray triangle,
and the size of the subsidy required to internalize the externality is
Reduction of Traffic Congestion
A primary goal of bicycle-sharing systems has been to reduce traffic
congestion, particularly in large urban areas. Some empirical evidence
indicates that this goal has been achieved to varying degrees in
different cities. A 2015 article in Transport Reviews examined
bike-share systems in five cities, including
Washington, D.C. and
Minneapolis. The article found that in D.C., individuals substituted
bike-share rides for automobile trips 8 percent of the time, and
almost 20 percent of the time in Minneapolis. A separate study on
Capital Bikeshare found that the bike-share program
contributed a 2 to 3 percent reduction in traffic congestion within
the evaluated neighborhood.
Reduction of Pollution
Not only do bike-share systems intend to reduce traffic congestion,
they also aim to reduce air pollution through decreased automobile
usage. The study on D.C.'s
Capital Bikeshare estimated that the
reduction in traffic congestion would be equivalent to roughly $1.28
million in annual benefits, accrued through the reduction in
congestion-induced CO2 emissions. A separate study of
transportation in Australia estimated that 1.5 kilograms of CO2
equivalent emissions are avoided by an urban resident who travels 5
kilometers by cycling rather than by car during rush hour
Bike-share programs, especially the earlier systems that required the
installation of docking areas along urban streets, encroach upon urban
space and reduce the space available for street parking. Reduced
parking is therefore a negative externality generated by bike share
systems. As bike-share companies have later transitioned into dockless
programs, the effect of this externality may have been reduced.
In some cities, the large number of dockless bike-share bicycles have
created clutter throughout the streets and sidewalks, degrading the
urban aesthetic environment and also blocking pedestrian traffic. In
particular, the large number of cycles on Chinese city streets have
created sections of clogged sidewalks no longer walkable, and piles of
illegally parked bicycles.
Bike-share company Mobike's bicycles clutter a sidewalk in 798 Arts
District in Beijing, China.
As bicycle-sharing systems continue to grow and provide an affordable
alternative for commuters, the relatively low price of these services
may induce competitors to offer lower prices. For instance, municipal
public transit organizations may lower prices for buses or subways to
continue to compete with bike-share systems. Pecuniary effects may
even extend to bicycle manufacturers and retailers, where these
producers might reduce prices of bicycles and other complementary
goods (e.g. helmets, lights). However, empirical research is needed to
test these hypotheses.
Internalization of Externalities
In public economics, there is a role for government intervention in a
market if market failures exist, or in the case of redistribution. As
several studies have found, bike-share programs appear to produce net
positive externalities in reduced traffic congestion and pollution,
for example. The bike-sharing market does not produce at the
social optimum, justifying the need for government intervention in the
form of a subsidy for the provision of this good in order to
internalize the positive externality. Many cities have adopted
public-private partnerships to provide bike-shares, such as in
Washington, D.C. with Capital Bikeshares. These partially
government-funded programs may serve to better provide the good of
Dangers of Over-Supply
Many bike-share companies and public-private partnerships aim to
supply shared bicycles as a public good. In order for bike-shares to
be a public good, they must be both non-excludable and non-rival.
Numerous bike-share programs already offer their services partly for
free or at least at very low prices, therefore nearing the
non-excludable requirement. However, in order to achieve the
non-rival requirement, shared bicycles must be supplied at a certain
density within an urban area. There are numerous challenges with
attaining non-rivalry, for instance, redistribution of bicycles from
low-demand regions to regions with high-demand. Mobike, a China-based
company, is attempting to solve this problem by paying their users to
ride their bikes from low-demand areas to high-demand areas.
Other companies such as
OBike have introduced a points system to
penalize negative behavior, namely, illegal parking of shared
bicycles. Economists speculate that a combination of efficient
pricing with well-designed regulatory policies could significantly
mitigate problems of over-supply and clutter.
A study published in the
American Journal of Public Health
American Journal of Public Health reports
observing an increase in cycling and health benefits where
bicycle sharing systems are run. In the United States, bikesharing
programs have proliferated in recent years, but collision and injury
rates for bikesharing are lower than previously computed rates for
personal bicycling; at least two people have been killed while using a
bike share scheme.
There is also considerable evidence that bike-share programs must be
adopted in tandem with city infrastructure, namely, the creation of
bike lanes. A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public
Health found that Toronto’s cyclists were 30-50% more likely to be
involved in an accident on major roads without cycle lanes than on
Despite their theoretical and observed benefits, bike-share programs
have come under attack as their presence has grown throughout the
world. Much of this criticism has focused on the use of public funding
- concerned critics posit that the use of tax dollars for bike-share
programs should instead be diverted towards building or maintaining
roads and other services that more residents use on a daily
basis. However, this argument relies on a faulty assumption that
taxpayer money is a significant source of bike-share funding. An
analysis by People for Bikes, an organization that advocates for new
and safe bike infrastructure, found that public investment in Salt
Lake City’s Greenbike and Denver's B-Cycle programs was
significantly less than traditional public transit (e.g. bus or rail)
in those same cities, on a per-trip basis. Both Greenbike and
B-Cycle's publicly funded subsidies amount to 10 percent or less of
the total cost of one trip. In contrast, Salt Lake City's’s bus
and rail system (UTA) relies on 80 percent public funding for a single
Other critics claim that bike-share programs fail to reach more
low-income communities. Some efforts have attempted to address
this issue, such as New York City's Citi Bike's discounted membership
program, which is aimed at increasing ridership among low-income
residents. However, around 80 percent of study respondents reported
that they had no knowledge of the program's discount.
List of bike sharing systems
Main article: List of bicycle sharing systems
Sustainable development portal
Alternatives to the automobile
Carsharing and peer-to-peer carsharing
Outline of cycling
Portsmouth Bikeabout programme never exceeded 500 users at any
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Community bicycle programs.
List of bicycle-sharing systems
CityBike (Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Ddareungi (Seoul, South Korea)
Gobee.bike (Hong Kong)
Hoba Bike (Hong Kong)
Ketch' Up Bike (Hong Kong)
Hangzhou Public Bicycle
Hangzhou Public Bicycle (Hangzhou, China)
LinkBike (George Town, Penang, Malaysia)
Mobike (China and Singapore)
OBike (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea)
Ola Pedal (India)
Tiruchirappalli Bicycle Share (India)
Cyacle Bikeshare (Abu Dhabi)
Tel-O-Fun (Tel Aviv)
Aarhus City Bikes
Call a Bike
Call a Bike (Germany)
Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes
Helsinki City Bikes
nextbike (many countries)
OYBike (Reading and Farnborough)
Santander Cycles (London)
Stockholm City Bikes
Styr & Ställ (Gothenburg)
Bike Share Toronto
Mi Bici (Guadalajara)
ArborBike (Ann Arbor)
Arcata Bike Library
Arcata Bike Library (Arcata)
Battle Creek B-Cycle
Ford GoBike (San Francisco Bay Area)
Baltimore Bike Share
BICI Bike Share (Albuquerque)
Bublr Bikes (Milwaukee)
Capital Bikeshare (Washington, D.C.)
CAT Bike (Savannah)
Citi Bike (New York City; Jersey City)
Columbia County B-Cycle
CoGo Bike Share
CoGo Bike Share (Columbus)
Des Moines B-Cycle
Fort Worth B-Cycle
Great Rides B-Cycle
Great Rides B-Cycle (Fargo)
GREENbike (Salt Lake City)
Healthy Ride (Pittsburgh)
Heartland B-Cycle (Omaha)
Kansas City B-Cycle
Indiana Pacers Bikeshare
Indiana Pacers Bikeshare (Indianapolis)
Link Dayton Bike Share
Nice Ride Minnesota
Nice Ride Minnesota (Minneapolis-Saint Paul)
Rapid City B-Cycle
Relay Bike Share (Atlanta)
Red Bike (Cincinnati)
San Antonio B-Cycle
Melbourne Bike Share
Bike Rio (Rio de Janeiro)
EcoBici (Buenos Aires)
PBSC Urban Solutions
Copenhagen City Bikes
Helsinki City Bikes 1st generation
Pronto Cycle Share
History of the bicycle
History of cycling infrastructure
Utility and slow
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