Bike sharing around the world

Chicago is about to enter the big leagues in bike sharing. Read our analysis.


Cities in this chart:
Montreal, New York City, Barcelona, London, Paris, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, and Hangzhou, China.

In this race, the users win.

I updated the graphic on October 19, 2011, to better show the differences between systems. I had previously used circle diameter to compare systems where circle area was more appropriate. I also added Boston. Minneapolis was added on December 30, 2011. 

Bike sharing will come to Chicago in 2012


What bike sharing might look like on the streets of Chicago. Photo of Capital BikeShare, in Washington, D.C., by M.V. Jantzen. 

Updated 11:11 AM: I should have mentioned originally that I believe this is a good idea for Chicago, and the RFP presents a solid plan on how the City expects it to be implemented and operated. 22:46: Added more information about potential bidders, Alta Bicycle Share and B-Cycle. 

I just finished reading the request for proposals (RFP) for Chicago’s first (er, second) bike sharing program. For the uninitiated, most bike sharing programs allow members unlimited free trips per day up to 30 minutes with a low fee for each 30 minute period after that. Locks are not provided so users are expected to secure the bikes by docking them at stations rather than locking them to bike racks or sign poles.

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and his managing deputy commissioner Scott Kubly together launched a 1,100 bikes and 100+ stations bike sharing system in September 2010. It had its one year birthday on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Now the pair have come to Chicago to do it again. Continue reading Bike sharing will come to Chicago in 2012

Highlights from MBAC, and room for improvement


Alderman Laurino, 39th Ward, talks about her proposed ordinance that would ban texting and other tasks while bicycling. See “More topics” below. 

These are the highlights from the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council (MBAC) meeting last Wednesday, September 13, 2011. The next meeting is Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at City Hall, 121 N LaSalle Street.

New protected bike lanes

These two protected bike lanes (PBL) will be installed in 2011. These were announced by Chicago Bicycle Program Bikeways Engineer David Gleason and Bikeways Planner Mike Amsden. Continue reading Highlights from MBAC, and room for improvement

Cool Minneapolis bike features I’d love to see in Chicago


The Midtown Greenway, a multi-use rails-to-trails conversion in a sunken railroad viaduct. 

I recently spent a day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, visiting friends en route to Duluth for a bike trip along Lake Superior. Last year Bicycling magazine named Minneapolis the best U.S. city for biking (I guess they couldn’t keep giving the award to Portland, OR, every year) while Chicago dropped down to tenth place. So I was curious to see if the City of Lakes offers any lessons on ways to make cycling better here.

In fairness, the Twin Cities area has a few inherent qualities that have encouraged bike-friendliness. The combined population of the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul is about 667,000, not much larger than Milwaukee and only a quarter the size of the city of Chicago. Minneapolis had ample available railroad right-of-way, which made it relatively easy to create a great network of urban off-street bike paths, 84 miles compared to Chicago’s 50. (We do have almost three times as many miles of streets with bike lanes.)*

Continue reading Cool Minneapolis bike features I’d love to see in Chicago