People use share bikes for many reasons, including health benefits and even because they like the design.
Richard Masoner/Bay Area Bike Share launch in San Jose CA/Flickr
Urban planners often hope bike-share schemes might reduce reliance on cars and help with congestion. But very few of those who use share bikes have switched from driving.
oBike was the first dockless bike sharing scheme in Australia.
Dockless or stationless bike sharing is risky business, relying a bit too much on common decency. Bike sharing schemes can work, but they may need to forego user convenience for bike safety.
Citibike station in midtown Manhattan.
Dozens of US cities have launched bike-share programs in the past decade. There have been bumps – critics want wider access, and cities want bikes stored out of the way – but bike sharing is on a roll.
Bike-sharing schemes work when users leave the bikes in safe places that don’t inconvenience others, so why doesn’t everyone do that?
Mental short-cuts guide our everyday decision-making. Unfortunately, five biases can lead us to deny responsibility for our poor decisions and are creating problems for share-bike schemes.
Share-bikes can litter our cities and be found in rivers, up trees, in gutters, and strewn around public places.
Obikes in unusual places/Facebook
There are three key cultural reasons why a share-bike business model that could be successful in Singapore is much less likely to be so in Australia.
Residents and councils object to share bikes littering their city.
OBikes in unusual places/Facebook
If we're going to intervene to stop the dumping of share bikes, we need to understand the bad behaviour in the first place, then design effective measures to change how bike users behave.
After nearly a decade of operation, Brisbane’s CityCycle scheme still needs to be subsidised.
Many short-term bike-hiring programs have been launched amid much fanfare, only for their popularity to decline soon after. Several key factors need to be in place for a program to work.
Information about who rides where and when is useful for city planners and policymakers, but also a valuable commodity in its own right.
Australians can see the impact of dockless bike sharing on the streets of their cities. The huge store of data collected about user journeys is less visible, but just as important.
Dramatic images of "bike graveyards" shouldn't be taken at face value – there's hope for bike-sharing schemes yet.
Cyclists on Melbourne’s Obikes next to Federation square
There is more to bike-share schemes than first meets the eye. As they grow in global popularity, the economic models behind them become increasingly diversified.