BY RHIANN MOORE
It’s become common practice over the past few years for bustling cities to introduce bike share systems. It’s a great idea that doesn’t necessarily always yield the best outcomes. While it’s an effective on-demand solution for commuters and tourists alike it doesn’t have the highest success rate, although it varies from city to city. It’s worth exploring the pros and cons of the scheme to assess if it’s the right move for specific users and their specific cities.
PRO: Environmental Impact
This one is fairly obvious but none the less worth noting. Biking is amazing for the environment and bike share systems help to encourage people to engage in more sustainable behaviour. The people who wind up using bike share systems might have otherwise opted for taxis or Ubers – which means the system is saving the planet from emissions by choosing a convenient and environmental option.
Bring Your Own Helmet. While this would be somewhat difficult for the systems to figure out, asking people who don’t own bikes to own a helmet is not terribly effective. Not wearing a helmet on the road may feel freeing and majestic, but it is also ridiculously dangerous. Bike share systems more or less shrug this off by saying they still recommend helmets, while not taking on any responsibility.
Bike share systems are great for commuters who aren’t ready to commit to their own bicycle yet. These systems will, naturally, take care of any maintenance and storage so with a membership they are fairly cost-effective too. Many people with long commutes end up with the dreaded public transit dead zone at some point, so rather than walking 15 minutes, with a bike share they’re able to hop on a bike and cut that travel way down.
CON: Congested Docking Stations
Docking stations tend to become unbalanced during peak travel hours. Meaning while it might be easy for someone to find a bike to head to work with, you might struggle to find somewhere to leave the bicycle. The idea of bike share is that it is much more convenient, but as anyone with a bike knows wandering around looking for a place to lock up is anything but. This problem is fairly solvable through transport bicycles, but they need to stay on top of it during rush hour.
PRO: Health Benefits
Biking is a workout that also gets you to where you need to be! Basically, it’s the perfect solution for those looking to get a little cardio in, but who simply do not have the time of day to hit the gym. Biking strengthens the body without being boring and is a wonderful solution for those looking to get a daily fitness boost. Bike share systems usually have monthly memberships far cheaper than gym ones so it’s a worthy trade!
All in all bike share systems prove to do more good than bad – though they could certainly work on finding solutions for their congestion and lack of helmets. Ultimately their benefits are far greater than the little issues and they are definitely a worthy option for any commuters or bicycle enthusiasts who aren’t looking to invest in their own bike just yet.