Bike share boomed in North America in 2013. The bicycle-centric public transit mode broke into mainstream culture and has since been featured on NPR, The Daily Show, Business Week, USA Today and countless local news outlets as more cities joined the bike share bandwagon. While we’ve reported on just about every expansion, program launch, technological innovation, and other notable bike share happening, here are ten bike share moments that stand out among the rest.
1. Citi Bike’s Launch | May 27
No bike share splash quite compares to the tsunami that Citi Bike created when it launched on Memorial Day, 2013. The media frenzy it incited brought bike share from a fringe mode of transportation directly into the mainstream. It has helped spark the interest of cities big and small and has consistently made headlines, most recently when Paul McCartney said that he avoided New York traffic by using Citi Bike on Saturday Night Live (at 2:50).
2. ITDP releases “Bike-Share Planning Guide” | December 5
In early December, the team at ITDP released perhaps the most comprehensive guide to bike share that has been produced to date. The report features metrics to help academics, officials and planners assess the quality of bike share systems as well as measures to effective bike share implementation. The document also covers the history of bike share development and identifies some of the world’s best bike share programs.
3. Shared-Use Mobility Summit | October 10-11
For the first time ever, the shared-use transportation industries came together for a two day conference covering the past, present, and future of shared-use mobility. Every major bike share company was well represented allowing for a unique opportunity for collaboration between competitors. Views on bike share’s role in transportation were shared and future obstacles were measured. The summit has now set the stage for future Shared-Use Mobility summits including one set to take place in Washington, DC in May.
4. Bike Share’s Culture War Myth | August 7
Occasionally, I’ll read an article from one of our contributors and say to myself, “This is going to be big.” Most of the time, however, I’m wrong. But with Justin Bilow’s “Bike Share’s Culture War Myth” I recognized something, and so did the rest of the bicycling and bike share industry. Justin laid out an issue that hadn’t yet been articulated and did so in poignant fashion. If you haven’t already, read the article here.
5. The Year that Wasn’t For Los Angeles Bike Share | Year-Round
In 2012 the future was bright for bike share in Los Angeles. Bike Nation and the City of Los Angeles negotiated a deal that would bring bike share at no cost to the city. Then came 2013 and the brightness dimmed. Bike Nation repeatedly pushed back the program’s launch date to the chagrin of local media and bike share activists. And eventually, it became apparent that because of advertising contracts and a bike share product in need of R&D, Bike Nation would not be supplying the equipment or operating the system. Los Angeles County is now expected to release a RFP for equipment and operations in early 2014.
So, see you in 2015, LA bike share!
After efforts by former Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and others, Chicago welcomed bike share in late June of 2013. This system has quickly expanded and now is the second largest in the United States. Bikeshare.com’s Alex Vickers experienced the program firsthand and chronicled his adventures here, here, here, and here.
7. And Every Other City that Launched Bike Share in 2013 in North America | Year RoundAnaheim* - Ops: Bike Nation. Equip: Bike Nation Fort Worth – Ops: Non-profit. Equip: B-cycle Salt Lake City – Ops: Non-profit. Equip: B-cycle Aspen – Ops: Non-profit. Equip: PBSC San Francisco – Ops: Alta Bicycle Share. Equip: PBSC Columbus - Ops: Alta Bicycle Share. Equip: PSBC *System no longer operational
8. Dorothy Rabinowitz’s rant against bike share and the “all-powerful bike lobby”
While one may categorize this within the media maelstrom following Citi Bike’s launch, it was so captivating– so baffling– that it needed its own mention. It super-charged the already immense media following of Citi Bike. And because of it, Rabinowitz is now known less by her conservative, Pulitzer Prize winning journalism and more for use of the word “begrimed.” Even the League of American Bicyclists has used it as a running joke to help promote their own conference claiming that “The All-Powerful Bike Lobby is Convening in D.C.”
Rabinowitz’s rant is downright legendary and will undoubtedly live on for years to come.
9. Alain Ayotte Leaves PBSC as the company hits financial hurdles | Year-Round
While PBSC had more bikes and stations hit the ground in 2013 than any other bike share company worldwide, it still ran into its fair share of trouble. In March, the company’s long-time CEO Alain Ayotte stepped down; then the Montreal government, who effectively own and control the company, requested that it sell its international arm; and shortly after it became apparent that PBSC had a “liquidity” problem sparking a range of concern about the company’s ability to meet contracts that it has signed with Alta. Much still remains to be determined regarding the company’s future.
10. Bikeshare.com Hits the Internet | March 4
It would be remiss to not give ourselves a shameless plug. After all, if we didn’t exist, think of how much obscure bike share news would be lost to the wayside of local newspapers and websites. It’s a scary thought– I know.
On behalf of Bikeshare.com staff, I’d like to thank all those who have helped this resource develop over the last nine months. It has been an incredible experience to watch our website grow and it truly wouldn’t be possible without our loyal readers and our new ones as well. We wish a happy new year to you all!