More about Bike Sharing Program
The Twin Cities Daily Planet has run an interesting story about the proposed Bike Sharing program. You can read the full story here.
Near the end they focus in on one of the major concerns I have had with the program, which I am enthusiastically supporting overall. The concern has to do with the fact that there is no plan to provide helmets. I suspect that what I will do is try to have a spare helmet at work that I can use for bike sharing excursions, but I am not sure if that is the best answer. I would like to see some helmet rental option added to the program, but also wonder if there aren't other creative ideas or options that might help. It is interesting to note that many European cities with high bicycling mode shares have extremely low rates of helmet usage, and their fatality rates are significantly lower than here. I think we need to recognize, however, that we don't yet have the critical mass needed to make each cyclist as safe without a helmet as they are in Copenhagen.
The other improvement I would like to see, perhaps once this is up and running, is an alternative style of bike for the person who wants to use the system for a longer, faster trip. The current 3 speed bikes are great for short or leisure trips, but when I tested it, I was surprised by how much more difficult it was to bring it up to the normal speed I am used to riding at with my own old ten speed. I recognize that folks who currently bike are not really the target market, but we might be able to attract them in some cases if we provide more 'commuter-style' bikes.
I hope the open houses such as the one at Coffman Union tomorrow from 7-9pm will help build interest and offer more tips for how to improve the program.