Reduced Emissions and Improved Quality of Life through Urban Cycling
Since late July, riders of Boston’s Hubway bicycle sharing program have traveled well over 100,000 miles on the system’s 600 bicycles. This figure has exceeded expectations, and the City’s enthusiasm has been reflected in Hubway’s expansion from 41 to 61 bicycle stations in under three months time.
Another North American bicycle sharing success:
Here are the stats, via bostonmagazine.com:
- Average ride length: 1.13 miles
- User geography: 48% from out-of-town
- User gender: 32% female, 68% male
- User occupation: 11% are students; 80% work in Boston
- Bike ownership: 50% don’t own a bike in working condition
- Users because it’s faster than walking or public transit: 49%
- Users who otherwise would have used public transit: 41%
- Users who otherwise would have driven their cars: 20%
While successful bike sharing systems are fairly new to the States, there are more than 200 worldwide, with particular traction in Europe, where programs have existed in various forms since the 60’s.
These programs benefit their locales logistically and environmentally by reducing traffic congestion, freeing up parking and lowering noise pollution, all while cutting down on emissions from personal automobiles. Communities are helped by a potential solution to the “last mile” issue by providing people with a way to get from public transit to their final destination, and individual users are spared the worries of maintenance, storage and theft that come with bicycle ownership.
What Bostonians need to know:
- Rides under 30 minutes are free!
- You can ride 3 seasons out of the year, no Hubway from December through February. Registered users pay $85 a year for discounted hourly rates and receive a special key for speedier transactions. Short-term riders can select one day or three day options.
- You may want to check out Massachusetts Bike Law here.
- These are heavy-duty bikes. They are close to damage proof, with chains, shifters and lights all built within the interior of the frame, along with GPS tracking. You will be charged $1,000 for a lost or stolen bicycle.
- Contrary to stereotypes about cycling amongst Boston drivers, Hubway has had no major accidents, and zero thefts.
Well over 20,000 car journeys have been eliminated since mid-summer. Keep it up!