Not UBER! It’s the Bike Sharing System. Good news for cyclists, this revolutionary way of diminishing traffic and travel time is truly convenient. However, we are not in Utopia — all systems have their own flaws, and bike sharing is not an exemption. First, what is a Bike Share System, anyway? Bike Share Systems or bike sharing means people can rent bikes for a period of time, going from point A to point B and so on. You can pay for the hour and drop off the bike at any other location.
Pros of Bike Shares:
Convenience means you won’t have to get caught in rush hour traffic and spend much on gas or fares. Using a bike to work does not only save you money — it can also relieve you from traffic congestion. It’s funny how TV series just like USA Network’s Suits and Netflix’s Stranger Things have been promoting biking, and yet people can’t seem to absorb it. Using a bike will get you faster and on time for work, school or even a catch-up date with friends! How does it work? Step off a train, hop on a bike, and be like roadrunner to your destination. If lucky, there might even be another station around the area, so you’ll only pay for the 15 minutes. The dead zone is called “last mile” problem which is common in urban developed communities and bike shares will provide an option for commuting as a 15-minute congestion can cause so much delay.
2. Environment and Tourism Benefits
Bikes have always been friendly to Mother Earth, and bike share systems are an addition to this. Unlike cars, bikes don’t have emissions. Most people, especially those who are visiting a new city will opt for a cab or car rental. With bike share systems, people cannot only save money, they can lessen the smoke emission and traffic hazards by choosing to ride a bike. In developed countries such as Korea, Japan, Netherlands and China, they encourage citizens and tourists to use bikes when roaming their cities. Bike shares provide additional option to explore and travel locally. For the value of money and saving the environment not just for locals (going to work and school, running errands, etc) but for tourists alike, bike sharing is a great choice.
3. Healthier Nation
When cycling, you save yourself from harmful diseases. America has high rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. People biking instead of commuting will lead to a healthier population. Biking engages one to become more physically fit and active — beneficial to physical, mental and internal health. Once you start biking to work, school or a destination (capable of biking), one gets the exercise they can’t afford due to tight schedules.
Healthier Nation through Bike Share Systems means:
1) Save money from fitness/gym classes, commuting and bike rental (if you wish to not buy one)
2) Save time and stress from traffic congestions
3) Gain better physical and mental health through biking daily
4. Cycling Laws Improvement
Bike Share Systems will call for better cycling laws. Since there are more automobiles than bicycles, bike laws are not dominant. In the event that people start to consider bike share system and include biking on their daily routines, the game changes. Cyclists get a bigger voice in traffic laws- resulting in better law coverage, enforcement, and protection for bike users. This will also gain additional precautions for automobile drivers, as they won’t just have to pay attention to pedestrians, but to bikers as well.
5. Safer and More Bike Lanes
In addition to better bike laws, the government will find better ways to provide high-end bike lanes too! With this, even pedestrians can benefit. Since more bikers are expected in bike lanes, motorists will be extra cautious in driving. Bike lanes can also substitute parallel parking lots on roads, which often cause congestion. Additional light posts will also be installed to guide bikers, helping even motorists during the rainy season.
Cons of Bike Shares
So what are the consequences of such convenient way of transportation? Bike Share’s consequences may be minimal, but they are impactful and substantial.
1. Congested Bike Docks
You can definitely save time from work using bike share but, what if there are no more available docks to lock your bike? Now, that can be very tricky. This can be easily resolved but during rush hour? That is another factor to consider.
2. First-Time Bikers
The first time isn’t always easy and most are horrible bikers on their first city ride. They are scared of the traffic, buzzing cars and they cycle slowly which can be dangerous as instincts and decision making should be fast and accurate. Some will even decide carelessly as they do not know what to watch out for. People who are biking in a city for the first time also put everyone else on the road at risk. If one is careless, he could either bump into a pedestrian, get side by side with a car or even hit a co-cyclist. This is highly plausible if there are only a limited number of bikers and bike lanes available in the city. Most cyclist might also be unaware of the laws existing for bikers, and the road itself, which can add to disadvantages bike share system causes.
3. Biking without helmet
If you own a bike, you must own a helmet! It’s a necessity to have one, not just because of the law but for several legal and health concerns, too. Helmets can save your body and life. Wearing one is a law, and can spare you from legal issues in case of an accident. However, if you are only using bike share system, helmets aren’t always available. When people bike only a few miles from their last stop, they might not bring helmets with them. In Boston, only around 20% of riders wear bike helmets. Means, only 8 out of every 10 bike-share-users who ride traffic are well protected. In case of an accident, one removes their chance on winning a legal case, and worse, get damaged and get killed just by not wearing a bike helmet. If several instances like this occur, we might also lose the bike share system in the long run.
Bike share is indeed a helpful system for everyone. In the event that it becomes more and more prominent in our lives, pollution, traffic, and health will surely improve. However, we must also be considerate about its negative sides. But who knows? These cons might be resolved soon — which makes bike share systems so much better!
Wanna buy your own commuter bike instead? Check this out.