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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If You Build Bike Share, Riders Will Come [Atlantic Cities] - Columbus gets Bike Share soon!


If You Build Bike Share, Riders Will Come
Reuters
The health benefits of riding a bike are obvious, and they seem to outweigh the risks of other city hazards — collisions, pollution, biased newspaper editorials, etc. Recent data models on cycling in the Netherlands and Barcelona concluded that the upside of physical activity was much larger than the combined downsides of traffic accidents and inhaling toxins. So in addition to improving a city transportation system, bike riding might elevate public health.
One way to expand urban biking is through a bike share, but since these systems are quite young in North America, there's not a great deal of evidence to show how much they increase ridership. Bike shares certainly make it easier to access a bike in the city: you no longer have to buy one, or rent an apartment big enough to fit one, or live in a building decent enough to store one. Still, giving better access to existing riders isn't the same as creating new ones.
To get a better handle on the potential public health benefits of bike-share systems, a group of Canadian researchers led by Daniel Fuller recently evaluated the ridership effects of Montreal's great program, BIXI. In the March 2013 issue [PDF] of the American Journal of Public Health, Fuller and company report that if you build it, the riders will (eventually) come:

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