Bixi is a bike sharing program that started in Montreal but the concept exists in cities around the world. In Montreal where there are more bicycle commuters every year,researchers at McGill University surveyed cyclists before and after Bixi began. They were able to identify the types of cyclists that ride and their commitment to commuting via bicycle.
The study found that cycling demographics are changing rapidly. In a 2008 Montreal study, conducted before Bixi and the growth of bike paths, 65 percent were men and 35 percent women. But in 2013, the study included 60 percent men and 40 percent women.
The age of cyclists also is dropping. The average age of the 2013 cyclists was 37.3 years old, compared with 42 years old in a 2008 study. But the study also showed cyclists’ income skews high. In 2008, 13 percent of cyclists had a household income of $100,000 or more. In the 2013, one-quarter of the respondents’ household income was above $100,000.
Based on the results, the researchers said a one-size-fits-all approach might not be the right way to encourage more cycling. Emphasizing health benefits, for instance, works best with first-time and returning cyclists, but doesn’t affect the most committed cyclists who ride for different reasons.
Despite repeated efforts by Toronto’s mayor to make transportation in the city worse, things are improving. Local condo developers are finding ways to build condo towers that don’t require more parking than the building needs (an archaic law in the city wants room for two cars for every bedroom built). They are using the cash saved from not building room for cars to build infrastructure for bicycles – which the condo buyers are asking for.
Other cities around the world already do this and it’s thanks to the effort of the developers and councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that Toronto benefits from this smart approach. With more people moving into the city bicycles make sense as a primary transportation source.
The developers — major players Canderel, DiamondCorp and Lanterra — agreed to contribute to Bixi in exchange for permission to create fewer parking spaces than city rules require.
The city sometimes releases developers from parking requirements without demanding anything in return. Wong-Tam said she decided that she would attempt this time to insist on the Bixi contribution. The developers, she said, put up “no resistance whatsoever,” since they will spend far less than they would have had to spend to build parking they can’t sell.
Lanterra chief executive Barry Fenton said he never thought of the agreement as a cost-saver: he believes his company would have persuaded Wong-Tam to relax the requirements even without the Bixi payment. Citing a “fantastic” bike journey he took in Stockholm, he said investing in urban cycling “just really, really, really makes a lot of sense.”
It’s no secret that we here at Things Are Good like bikes and bike sharing (we may have even posted about it once or twice…), and now some more good news concerning bike sharing has come in. New York City is looking to set up North America’s largest bike sharing programme complete with 10 000 bikes! New York’s bike share will be funded through corporate sponsorship and will create around 200 jobs in the city. The bikes, which are the same as Bixi’s bicycles in Toronto and Montreal, will be manufactured in Canada by Cycles Devinci.
At a time when owning a car in China has become the ultimate symbol of success, it’s very encouraging to see systems like Hangzhou’s bike share working so well.
The city of Hangzhou, with its population of roughly seven million, has 50 000 bikes in their bike share program!
Hangzhou’s 2,050 bike-share stations are spaced less than a thousand feet from each other in the city center, and on an average day riders make 240,000 trips using the system. Its popularity and success have set a new standard for bike-sharing in Asia. And the city is far from finished. The Hangzhou Bicycle Company plans to expand the bike-share system to 175,000 bikes by 2020!
Back in July, Toronto announced that it would attempt to bring the Bixi bike sharing programme to the city. A big condition was that Bixi would need to have 1000 people purchase the $95 annual subscription to the service before the imposed deadline of November first. Well here we are on October 19th, and Bixi has reached the 1000 member mark, in large part due to an investment from AutoShare.
The car-sharing company AutoShare announced Monday night that it bought 100 of the $95 annual subscriptions, pushing the total over 1,000. The announcement was made to room full of BIXI subscribers gathered for a party at the Steam Whistle Brewery. “There was a big cheer, that’s for sure,” said AutoShare president Kevin McLaughlin, who called the purchase an investment in BIXI. “The bigger picture is bringing a better transportation system to Toronto,” he said.
In other good Toronto news, the University of Toronto is experimenting with the creation of new, pedestrian only spaces. The idea is undergoing a real-time evaluation by closing down little-used roads and setting up tables, chairs, and fake grass. Although one area wasn’t very successful (Devonshire between Bloor and Hoskin), the other is flourishing. Willcocks Street between St. George and Huron is being heavily used by students, faculty, and random passers-by as a place to meet, work, and enjoy free Wi-Fi. Evaluation of the concept will continue until the winter, when a decision will be made whether or not to turn the temporary set-up into something more permanent.