Cycling cities: The newest bike share programmes around the world

Iain Roberts, a partner at Ideo who has worked with Ford for a decade, rides a bicycle through the Divvy bike share program with employees in Chicago, in October, 2015. — Picture by Ryan Lowry/The New York Times
Iain Roberts, a partner at Ideo who has worked with Ford for a decade, rides a bicycle through the Divvy bike share program with employees in Chicago, in October, 2015. — Picture by Ryan Lowry/The New York Times

NEW YORK, May 31 — Whether you live in a city or are just visiting, bike sharing programmes are a great way to get around and explore the area quickly. If you’re new to cycling they’re also a good way to get started without investing in a bike of your own, with most programmes providing a cheap form of transport, not to mention a workout!

With May being National Bike Month in the US and Canada kicking off its month-long bike month Yesterday, we look at some of the latest bike-sharing schemes launching around the world to help you cycle your way around.

Los Angeles

The US city is one of the most recent to announce a bike-sharing scheme, with 1000 public bikes coming to the city on July 7.

The bikes will be available at 65 locations in the downtown area of the city including Chinatown, Union Station and city hall. Those who hold a metro card and the general public, including those who are just visiting the city, will be able to use the bikes starting August 1.

As one of the most traffic-clogged cities in the world it’s good news for commuters and those looking to leave their car at home and get around the city in a cheap, easy, and health way.

Vancouver

The Canadian west coast city, already known for being home to an active population, is set to launch its public bike share system in the coming months with 1500 bikes and 150 bike stations set to be in operation by the end of the summer. Named Mobi, the programme is currently offering discounted memberships through June.

Helsinki

Finland’s capital Helsinki will be one of the next major cities to get a bike sharing programme, with the city putting its bike sharing system in place from May 1 with the aim to launch 50 bike stations and 500 bikes by summer 2016, increasing these numbers to 1,500 bikes and 150 stations by 2018.

Users will be able to borrow a bike throughout central Helsinki by purchasing a pass for a day, week, or whole season, making it a great option for both visitors and inhabitants.

Belfast

Belfast launched its bike sharing scheme just last year, with the city now boasting 33 docking stations located across the city centre.

Cyclists can register as casual users or annual subscribers and the first 30 minutes of each trip is free. And as Belfast Bikes are provided by the bike sharing company nextbike, members can also rent bikes from all nextbike schemes across the world.

Prague

The Czech capital is set to add to its existing bike sharing scheme next year, enabling users to rent thousands of bikes from more than 120 points around the city.

Bike sharing in the city is currently available thanks to Rekola, which plans to install 3000 bikes around the city throughout 2016. However, bike sharing company Homeport is currently testing an electric bike sharing system in Prague’s district of Karlín, where they have placed 16 charging stations. If they win the right to operate the scheme, Prague could see 500 electric bikes placed around the city in addition to a fleet of traditional bikes, making it easier for cyclists to get up and down Prague’s hilly terrain. — AFP/Relaxnews

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