Why bike share stations are good for San Francisco neighborhoods

Bike sharing has become popular over the last 10 years, especially in cities. This is a guide to why it’s good to get a bike share station installed in your neighborhood, along with where you shop and work. In San Francisco, we have 100+ bike share stations, and the network is expanding to serve more parts of the city. The benefits outlined here pertain to docked bike share stations like Ford GoBike, but many benefits also apply to dockless bike systems like JUMP and Lime Bikes.

Our Bikes SF
Aug 17, 2018 · 4 min read
Photo credit: Paul Wasneski

Bike share stations make streets safer.

By shifting a percentage of modes from cars to bikes, bike sharing stations have led to increases in public safety through fewer vehicle collisions. In some cities with bike share stations, motor vehicle collisions have dropped 65%. Additionally, bike share users themselves have been shown to have fewer collisions and injuries than average riders.

Historically, motor vehicles collisions kill roughly 30 people and seriously injure more than 200 people a year in San Francisco. 50% of the injuries and fatalities are kids and the elderly, so reducing the number of collisions has a meaningful effect on public safety especially for families with young kids and older adults.

Bike share stations help local businesses.

Many studies have shown that bike share stations increase sales at nearby businesses. Bike share makes it easier for customers to get to the businesses they love.

Bike share stations reduce traffic congestion.

Studies of bike share station locations have shown that bike share stations shift some people out of cars and onto bikes which reduces the number vehicle miles traveled by between 56k miles per area per year and 150k miles per area per year. This reduction in car miles traveled reduces congestion, air pollution from the cars, and noise from cars.

Bike share stations make parking a car easier.

Researchers have found that the addition of bike share stations to a neighborhood reduces the rate of car ownership. This reduction in car ownership takes pressure off the neighborhood’s parking spaces, making it easier for those who do have cars to park in the neighborhood. Data shows that around 25% of trips by bike share would have been by car instead, leading to a significant decrease in demand for parking spaces from people visiting from another area. Since bike share stations typically hold between 18 and up to 80 bikes, the reduction in parking demand offsets the loss of parking spaces from installing the station (typically 1–3 parking spaces) by a wide margin.

Bike share stations make getting around the neighborhood and city easier.

Bike share stations make it easier to get around without a car. This is why Walk Scores often increases when stations are installed in a neighborhood. On Google Maps, biking is often the quickest way to get around the city, both for short distances and across town, especially with the recent introduction of ebikes in San Francisco. Researchers studied this increase in mobility and found that it has both individual economic benefits (less time spent in traffic, shorter commutes) and societal/group economics benefits.

Bike share stations look great.

In addition to the benefits of increased property values, increased safety, reduced congestion, more car parking availability, and increase in mobility, the stations simply look great. The stations are quiet, don’t require dedicating lighting, and are a nice addition to a street. When they replace a parking space, they are more sightly than a stranger’s car. The docks keep the bikes orderly and out of the way of the sidewalks to preserve space for people walking and strollers.

Is there a catch?

Bike share stations bring great benefits to our neighborhoods. However, ensuring they’re in the right location maximizes their impact. An organization called NACTO has a great guide to bike share placement found here. We recommend you reference this guide when requesting a new station.

To request a new station in San Francisco, see this page. There’s a lot of interest in getting additional bike share stations installed and expanding our bike share network. We hope you’ll join us in promoting bike share and all its benefits.

Follow us on Twitter at @ourbikes. Got a question about bike share? Reach us at hello@ourbikes.org.

Our Bikes SF

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Tell our leaders to support new Ford GoBike stations and remove the cap on Jump ebikes.

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