Colorado bike share—a celebration (and free day)
Following the successful pilot of bike share during the 2008 Democratic national convention in Colorado, our state saw the launch of the very first large-scale bike share system in the U.S. Since that time, the concept has exploded across the country and has been implemented in some 40 cities. An even greater number of cities are getting ready to roll out bike share soon.
Doom and Gloom?
It was a bit perplexing to read the Wall Street Journal’s “doom and gloom” article entitled, “City Bike-Sharing Programs Hit Speed Bumps.” As a business publication, I’d expect the writer to view bike share in the same context as other early-stage industries, since it was born just six years ago. Having personally spent 15 years in the software industry, I know of the many struggles for young industries, and I understand why some bike share systems are experiencing software challenges.
The good news is the Colorado systems have not experienced any of the big problems encountered by cities like New York, Montreal or Washington D.C.; the Colorado bike share programs are experiencing great success.
The ubiquitous red bicycles are seen all over neighborhoods and at interesting destinations: restaurants, shops, micro breweries, downtown offices, event venues and nearby friends or family. The bike system has shown riders the ease, convenience and fun of traveling to a variety of places by bicycle—and oh, what a joy to arrive at your destination without the hassles of finding and paying for parking.
Bike share has reintroduced many adults to riding, even leading some to purchase a new bike and incorporate it into their transportation habits, replacing some car trips. Note: Along the Colorado front range, 40% of trips are less than 2 miles—a perfect distance for bicycling.
Bike share also highlights the need for improvements throughout our transportation system so that casual bicyclists find roads and paths safe and inviting. A significant number of users feel much too vulnerable to share roads with cars and many are even concerned about their safety in a painted bike lane with no protection from cars.
Colorado Bike Share (free) Day
The Governor’s office is proud of Colorado and its pioneering role for bike sharing, as are organizations like Bicycle Colorado, AAA Colorado and PeopleForBikes. In recognition of Colorado Day, celebrated each August 1, the Governor’s office of Economic Development and International Trade has declared Friday to be “Colorado Bike Share Day.”
All three Colorado bike share systems—Aspen, Boulder and Denver—are offering free one-day memberships. Congratulations to our colleagues at Denver B-Cycle, Boulder B-Cycle and Aspen WE-Cycle for their successes and enjoy the free access on Friday, August 1!
Details: Whether a free day or a regular day, return the bike within 30 minutes to any bike share station to avoid usage fees. To continue your trip, simply check out a different bicycle and off you go. Bike share apps are available for smartphones to help you find bike share stations.
I’ve ridden bicycles a few hundred kilometers through Paris and watched the city implement the first large-scale bike share system of this type in the world. Velib (a compound of the french word for bicycle, “Velo,” and “Liberté”) has been very successful in Paris and is a great resource for experiencing the city as a tourist. I have found the Capital Bike Share system in Washington D.C. equally valuable over the last several years.
While I own multiple bicycles, I also maintain a bike share membership in Colorado, as it is a much better resource for some trips. Ask me why and share some examples of how bike share works for you in Colorado.