15 October 2010

Bike Share Usage Comparisons

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 25_1DC SmartbikesParis Bike Culture - Vive la Vélib'Vienna City Bike Couple 2Dublin Cycle Chic - DublinbikesBarcelona Bicing CardGirocleta Girona 02
Paul Martin in Brisbane sent me an online toy this morning and I've been playing around with it. It's a live map of bike share system use in a variety of cities.

I decided to compare the levels of bike share use in 12 cities. Nine of them in Europe, as well as Melbourne, Montreal and Washington, DC.

I checked the levels of usage at 08:00 AM in all the European cities (I'm including London and Dublin under that label). The morning rush hour is beginning, people are heading to work. I checked the current weather conditions, too. It's late-autumn in Europe and morning temperatures are getting chillier.

So, here we go. At 08:00 in the morning local time on a Friday:

PARIS - VÉLIB [8 AM / 10°C / cloudy]
753 bikes in use
4.3% in use / Normal
753 is highest so far today

MILAN - BIKEMI [8 AM / 8°C / shallow fog]
110 bikes in use
9% in use / High
1142 is highest so far today

LONDON - BORIS BIKES [8 AM / 10°C / light drizzle]
404 bikes in use
9% in use / High
404 is highest so far today

BARCELONA - BICING [8 AM - 12°C / party cloudy]
847 bikes in use
17% in use / Extremely high
882 is highest so far today

DUBLIN - DUBLIN BIKES [8 AM / 6°C / party cloudy]
76 bikes in use
20% in use / Extremely high
78 is highest so far today

BRUSSELS - VILLO [8 AM / 9°C / mostly cloudy]
106 bikes in use
6% in use / Fairly high
106 is highest so far today

VIENNA - CITYBIKES [8 AM / 8°C / cloudy]
54 bikes in use
7% in use / Fairly high
72 is highest so far today

SEVILLE - SEVICI [8 AM / 15°C / fine]
265 bikes in use
13% in use / Very high
265 is highest so far today

VALENCIA - VALENBISI [8 AM / 16°C / mostly cloudy]
101 bikes in use
10% in use / High
175 is highest so far today

That brings us to the cities outside of Europe. In Melbourne when it's 08:00 CET, the time is 17:00. Rush hour going home on a Friday. Prime time for bike share system use. The weather is, coincedentally, very similar to many European cities. Drizzle in London, light rain in Melbourne.

There are comparable levels of bicycle-friendly infrastructure and a general perception of 'crazy drivers' in Melbourne and a number of the cities on the list, which makes an even better comparison. So how is their bike share system doing? Remember, Melbourne is the only city on the list that has an all-ages, mandatory helmet law (and one of the very few places that actually enforce it.)

MELBOURNE - BIKESHARE [5 PM / 8°C / light rain]
3 bikes in use
0.7% in use / Very low
7 is highest so far today

There is still little improvement in usage in Melbourne, despite enormous media coverage.

I checked out Washington, DC and Montreal as well. Please note that the time in these two cities was 02:30. Middle of the night. Was anybody using their bike share bicycles?

WASHINGTON - DC BIKES [2:30 AM / 11°C / cloudy]
7 bikes in use
1.2% in use / Low
38 is highest so far today

MONTREAL - BIXI [2:30 AM / 10°C / light rain]
20 bikes in use
0.5% in use / Extremely low
243 is highest so far today

Well... um... in the middle of the night in Washington and Montreal there are more bike share bicycles in use than in Melbourne.

Last year, Copenhagenize selected The World's Worst Bike Share Programme - Wheels4Wellness. It still may be the dubious winner of the title, but goodness me... Melbourne just may be gaining.

Just before publishing this, I had a look at the current levels at time of writing.

Dublin: 09:00 AM - 42% bikes in use!
London: 09:00 AM - 17% bikes in use!
Paris: 10:00 AM - 7% bikes in use - up 2.7% since an hour ago.

Check out the Oobrien.com website and see the current levels in all these cities and more.


juffles said...

....and how many of those programs require you to a) wear a helmet, and b) pay another $5 to buy one, which you then have to either lug around with you or (more likely) contribute to landfill?

*sigh* For a country with such a laid-back reputation, being Australian really does embarrass me sometimes.

Martti Tulenheimo said...

Wow, this gadget is truly wonderful! Stats are what we need, now we are able to get 'em easily. Thanks for sharing!

Kim said...

Interesting to see in that what many would perceive as poor weather, there are so many bikes in use. I long for the day when Edinburgh can join this club.

It is also interesting to see how badly wrong Melbourne has got it...

Mark said...

The most ironic thing is that the bike share system being used in Melbourne is exactly the same as the system in London and Montreal which cancels out any kind of variables that Melbourne's politicos might try to use to explain the difference. There is no doubt, in my mind at least, that the mandatory helmet laws have done for the bike share scheme in Melbourne. As I understand it, to try and remedy the situation, they have now set up a helmet vending machine with heavily subsidized helmets inside.... It really does make the mind boggle.

Anonymous said...

Soon Montrealers won't be able to bike when snow storm hits!

Klaus Mohn said...

I'm surprised at Vélib's underperformace. Especially since we're still in the middle of a strike (not a very disruptive one, but still). Then again, I rode my own bike this morning.

ephant said...

I get that the temperature looks comparable but I think it's worth pointing out that 8 degrees for a melbournian is pretty frickin' cold. And yes it might have been "light rain" at 5pm... but before and after that light rain we had a LOT of very heavy rain. I ordinarily walk home but when I knocked off work at 5pm there was no way I was spending any time walking (even though it was only drizzling then) because I got ABSOLUTELY DRENCHED on the way in to work this morning and I was not convinced the weather would hold out (it didn't - it started bucketing down again at about 6pm)

That said I don't expect that usage rates would be particularly high on a better day. It's fairly expensive compared with catching a tram: especially if you caught public transport in to the city to start off with (the bikes don't extend very far out of the city. I practically live in the city and it's still a 15 minute walk from here to the nearest bike share) and with the way our public transport tickets work it's not going to cost any extra to jump on a tram if you already have a ticket because they're time based (either 2 hour or daily).

Plus the helmet thing if you buy a helmet jacks the price up to more than a daily public transport ticket and probably even more money than a taxi fare would cost you to go anywhere within bikeshare range.

I'm still recovering from injuries that I've had since they introduced bikeshare (I broke my toe and then my wrist, sigh) and I've been tossing up whether to join up but money wise it doesn't really seem like an attractive option to me at all.

Gary said...

My office in Brisbane Australia look directly onto a bike share station in the city centre. Since it started a couple of weeks ago I have not seen a single person take a bike out. In total I have see 2 bikes being used city wide. The nearest place to purchase a helmet is a 1.5km walk away. Are politicians really that dumb? The problem is that they have destroyed our bike culture to the point that cyclists are such a minority no one really give a shit any more.

Stefan said...

Funny and interesting to see how Brussels actually has the highest use in percentage.

Stefan said...

Ugh, never mind my comment above. I need to get my eyes checked, so I look at the right numbers in the right place... Dublin rocks it in percentage...

Exqueeze me.

Txell said...

so cool. and double cool to know that BCN's use is "extremely high"

Esther Anaya said...

Amazing, thank you!

ZA said...

re: DC's bikeshare program

As someone who has tried to get their DC-traveling coworkers to use the available bikeshare programs more, the biggest barrier is their annual subscription requirement (there is no short-term rental method). As with that other bike pod you wrote about in 2009, there is the problem mentality of "bikes as props" rather than tools to use.

At least I read that other bikeshare systems are trying to turn this around: http://streetsblog.net/2010/10/05/capital-bikeshare-winning-hearts-but-how-will-it-change-the-streets/

Daniel said...

It's really cold and rainy in montreal these last few days

BeyondDC said...

DC's new bikesharing system (Capital Bikeshare - the one shown in the stats here) absolutely DOES have a daily rental option. Only the old system (SmartBike) did not.

You can walk up to any station and buy a $5 daily pass.

Anonymous said...

"I checked the levels of usage at 08:00 AM in all the European cities (I'm including London and Dublin under that label)."

I'm a bit surprised you felt the need for this clarification. Especially Dublin. Not many eurosceptics here.


saskia said...

This is great - we really are living the dream in Australia aren't we ???

Shit, it's so lame - I'd organise another protest ride in Melbourne but really what's the point. It's just becoming even more ludicrous with the disposable helmet farce.
I'm just so angry at the narrow-mindedness of the government and self appointed helmet brigade. There really can't be any other reason for its failure. Blaming the weather is just a pitiful excuse.

More than anything, I'm furious that we have to spend so much damn time discussing helmet law when that time could be spent riding bikes and being happy.
[insert a variety of unsavory swear words of your choice]

but thanks for sharing Mikael :-)

lagattta à montréal said...

It was miserable here in Montréal yesterday, with extremely heavy rain, unusually strong gusts of wind, and a lot of falling leaves brought down by both. I didn't cycle - just walked and took the métro, but today I certainly made up for it. Normally cold rain wouldn't keep me from cycling but it was an unusual storm, more typical of the North Atlantic coasts, that brought down several trees.

anonymous, last winter we had less snow than Copenhagen and even many typically more clement European cities - I cycled all winter. But Bixi goes into hibernation here at the end of November (I have my own bicycle and never use Bixi).

Anonymous said...

Hey Australians,

Mexico City actually repealed its helmet law in setting up its bike share (www.ecobici.df.gob.mx/home/home.php). It's limited in coverage but it's said to be working well in the neighborhood where it's deployed.

zerogetsamgow said...

Talk about selective/misrepresentative use of data.

The weather on this particular day in Melbourne was atrocious - I should know, I rode home in it and only stayed dry because I wore some weather appropriate clothing.

Also, the data shows the number of bikes away from the docks, not the number in use. It is possible someone in Washington(?) took the bike home for the night.

Anonymous said...

I recently saw some data on vehicle speed on German Autobahns on a dry day versus vehicle speed on Australian Highways on a wet day. I couldn't believe it! Australians drive slower in the rain than the Germans do it the dry!! My theory is that it might have something to do with the open speed limits in Germany. What do you guys think? Or is it just because Australia is a crap place to live?
It's all apples and oranges on this site. I carry a helmet with me and I use the bike share in Melbourne and I love it. It's not the law that is stopping people, it's lazy people who can't fathom clipping a helmet to their bag. If you aren't prepared to do that then you are not going to ride in the rain anyway.
Well done Melbourne for implementing a system despite the obvious barrier. It has definitely made my commute easier, quicker and more enjoyable. As for cost $50 bucks a year is a bargain.
As for helmets you can rent them for $2 at 7-eleven stores across the CBD, or buy them for $5. I bought a spare that I leave in my desk at work.
Bring on SUMMER, riding ANY bike in Melbourne winter ain't much fun.
If you are anti bike share, stick the boots in and hopefully Melbourne will bow under the pressure and cancel the program(but then you'll have to find something else to sook about)...they certainly wont change the law. If you are pro-bike share, why not actually give it a go. You might just like it :)

Dave said...

"Or is it just because Australia is a crap place to live?"

Is that what Aussies think?! Cause if so, I'm quoting it to my girlfiend, who DYING to move there!

Also, I'm in Dublin, that's right, the one in Europe, and if the good folk in Melbourne want to whine about how that statistic was taken on a particularly wet day, it does NOT hold true as a comparison to us. We are the wettest city by average rainfall of all the cities with an available scheme, and have the highest percentage use for availability of all schemes, consistently. Weather is not as much of a barrier as perceived.