Why Bike-Sharing Programs Are Really Good Ideas

So now, in addition to my friends who will not shut up about how amazing D.C.'s bicycle-sharing SmartBike program is, there's word out of Montreal that its Bixi bike-sharing program will now be exported to Boston and London. The concept of bike sharing strikes me as perfectly sound. Bikes are very convenient except for two things: They're expensive and they can be a pain to lock up and not have stolen. Bike-sharing solves these two problems in a flash by letting you rent from a fleet of bikes and store them in docks across the city.


Boston seems to be making the most aggressive push to clear the way for bike-lovers. In addition to importing the Montreal bike-sharing model, the city is expanding its bike lanes, and buying thousands of bikes to park in hundreds of stations. By comparison, D.C.'s SmarkBike program has only 10 stations across the city, which is still a bit short of what I would consider convenient.

Some of the benefits of biking rather than driving -- like exercise and the environment -- are quite clear. But Matt Yglesias has pointed out that there's another benefit of building out your bike community: The more riders, the fewer injuries. At least, that was the case in NYC.
riders.png

Via Green, Inc



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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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