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Advantages of Bike Sharing


1. It’s Cheaper Than Transit or Car Rental
If you’re visiting a city with a bike-share for a few days, the bike system is likely to be cheaper than renting a car or using public transit. For instance, a three-day bike-share pass costs $17 in Washington, D.C., while an unlimited 24-hour pass costs $10 in Boston. A rental car in either city is likely to cost at least $25 per day, while a one-day unlimited Boston transit pass costs $12. If you can avoid incurring excessive usage fees, you come out ahead with a bike-share.

2. It’s a Good Way to Show Visitors Around
If you’re serving as a liaison in your city for out-of-town friends, your local bike-share program could be a convenient, cost-effective way to show them the sights.

Unless you’re hugging the shoulder of a busy road as cars whiz by, biking is less stressful than driving or taking public transit, particularly in congested areas. And if you want to explore a spread-out park or waterfront, a bike is likely to be more efficient, particularly if parking is costly or difficult to find or the distances are too great to walk in a reasonable amount of time.

3. It Eliminates the Need for Personal Bike Ownership
If your city has a year-round bike-share program, or if you’re willing to find other ways to get around during the offseason, bike sharing could be a legitimate replacement for a personal bicycle.

The cost of an annual bike-share membership could be lower than what you’d spend each year on maintenance and repairs for a personal ride, depending on the quality of your bike, how hard you ride it, and how well you take care of it. If you can avoid or minimize usage fees, you could come out ahead without sacrificing the mobility and freedom that comes with having two wheels at your disposal.

4. You Aren’t Attached to Your Bike-Share Bike
I admire intrepid commuters who ride their own bikes to the bus or train, hook it to the front of the transit vehicle, and then cycle from the stop to their destination, no matter the weather. No matter how user-friendly the bus’s bike racks or how spacious the train’s cabins, it’s still an awkward and time-consuming process. And when you get to your workplace, you probably need a lock to make sure your bike is still there at the end of the day.

By contrast, bike-share programs often have hubs near major transit stops, making it easy to bike to your stop, leave the bike behind, and get on the vehicle unimpeded.

5. It’s a Great Option for Occasional Bikers
Bike sharing isn’t the ideal commuting arrangement for everyone, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not useful for occasional riders. It’s an especially powerful proposition for people who don’t own their own bikes but do enjoy pedaling around on nice days.

Bike sharing is also a solid alternative to a car. If you want to visit a park or landmark on a pleasant weekend day, you can hop on a bike and get there in less time than it would take to walk, and with more freedom than you’d get in a car or bus.

And bikes can go farther than gas-powered vehicles into parks and other interesting places, such as cramped historic areas where parking is difficult or impossible. This is a key advantage if you’re a fair-weather biker – someone who hops on two wheels to sightsee on a few really nice weekend days per year.

6. It’s Healthier Than Driving or Riding Transit
Whether it’s your primary mode of transportation or an occasional way to get from place to place, biking is healthier than driving or riding transit. It burns more calories, builds more muscle, and just generally makes you feel better. If you’re committed to using your local bike-share program regularly, you could reduce or completely cut out those inconvenient trips to the gym, painful jogs around the neighborhood, or awkward tussles with home exercise equipment.