President John F. Kennedy once said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” We agree, but we’d throw in, “…especially during the summer.” Whether you’re a native or a tourist, you truly learn the contours of your current destination and make new discoveries that you wouldn’t otherwise experience if you weren’t riding a bicycle.
This sense of adventure, coupled with the health and eco-friendly benefits, make this two-wheeler the perfect mode of summer transportation. And more and more cities around the world are taking note by introducing public bike share programs. The idea behind bike sharing is to provide accessible and affordable alternatives to public transportation or cars on a short-term basis, alleviating some of the congestion and pollution often associated with commuting.
Because most systems allow people to buy a day pass, renting one for vacation sightseeing seems like the perfect (and leisurely) way to get around. Locals, too, can enjoy these community bikes, as they can coast to a restaurant that’s just out of reach on foot but would be huge hassle to get to by car (has anyone ever tried to find a parking spot in New York City?).
Bike Sharing Benefits
Bike sharing may also be the answer to making cycling and green transportation more mainstream in the United States. BikesBelong.org reports that if we look to Europe where bike sharing is more established, we see that bicycling increased by 70% in Paris and 44% in Lyon, France after the launch of their programs. The good doesn’t stop there, either. Bike sharing promises many advantages for cities, residents, and tourists.
- Helps protect the planet by reducing car congestion and your carbon footprint
- Improves the local economy by generating a new source of revenue
- Encourages cities to develop more eco-friendly public programs
- Reduces a rider’s worry over bike costs associated with maintenance, storage, and theft
- Spurs innovation, like the possibility of a recyclable paper helmet for bike share safety
- Makes exercise fun (Parisians have burned over 19 billion calories in the last 6 years)!
An infographic by the team at Online Masters In Public Health
Want to Give Bike Sharing a Spin?
- Locate a bike share program using The Bike-Sharing World Map on Google, or download an app from Spotcycle.net to find stations and plan your route.
- Learn how to transform your community into a bike-friendly place with resources from the non-profit Alliance for Biking & Walking.
Where do you imagine taking a summer bike ride? Or do you have any experience with bike share programs in your cities or travels — do you like them? Share with us in the comments below!