What is Bikesharing?

Bikesharing plays a key part in the strategy for urban mobility concepts. Transportation in cars is no longer a long-term solution in urban regions, and studies have shown that there’s a strong correlation between physical and mental health in areas which have a strong biking presence, while cities which are lacking these facilities have a much higher presence of obesity and stress. Besides the direct impact on health issues, there’s a big impact environmental issues, such as the quality of air, combined with an increased level of safety in regions which have a hike uptake of cycling facilities.

The reasons for adopting cycling as part of urban planning is clear, and without doubt, provides many benefits to a thriving society. But which role plays bikesharing in this, and what exactly is bikesharing?

What is Bikesharing?

Bikesharing is a modern way of bike rental. The concept of bike rentals, or bike sharing for the rest of this article, is not a new concept, and has existed since the mid 19’s, in successful and less successful implementations.

For bikesharing, we identify a few different types of bikesharing systems.

Flex Bike

Flex bike sharing consists of a pool of bikes, usually rented out by a transportation company, such as the German Deutsche Bahn, or the Dutch Railways. This type of bikesharing is identified by having a central pickup and drop-off spot, usually a train station. Bikes can be rented using a subscription model, and bikes can be picked up from a (train) station, rented for the day, and need to be returned to the same pickup station as where the bike was picked up initially. The average rental period is often longer than 8 hours per day, and is mostly used for the daily commute from a train to the office, and back.

Docked bike sharing

In many European and US cities docked bikesharing has been introduced many years ago. The countries with the most dock based systems are Spain, Italy  and China, and are quite popular in cities such as Barcelona, London, and other European cities. Also in bigger Asian areas, like Wuhan and Hangzhou. Bikes can be rented through and picked up from a specified location (the dock) in a city. The bikes can usually be returned to any dock in the city which has capacity to hold the bikes, after which the bike can be used by a different user. Bike trips are usually short, and used as an effective way to travel in dense urban regions.

Dockless bike sharing

A newer and more flexible way of bikesharing is the so-called dockless bike sharing, which has been introduced in 2016 in East Asia, and has taken a big flight worldwide since then. Dockless bike sharing bikes are spread over the city and can be mostly parked all over the city. A typical bike can be rented for a short amount of time, typically in blocks of 20 to 30 minutes, either by paying a trip fee or having a monthly subscription. These bikes are typically unlocked using a bluetooth connection to a mobile phone, and are often appealing to a younger audience. Trips are often very short (less than 30 minutes), and are often used in mixed mode transportation.

Peer to peer bike sharing

Peer to peer, or public bike sharing is probably the only ‘true’ bike sharing which lives up to its name. Bikes owned by individuals are rented out in a similar fashion to car sharing, in which individuals allow others to use their bike, and, in return, take a share of the profit. Private bike sharing has been introduced successfully in a limited amount of cities, of which Spinlister and Cycle.land might be the best example. Unfortunately, Spinlister stopped its services in April 2018,

Bikeradar plays a role in this by proving integration with all of the above services. For a list of supported systems, have a look at our provider page, to be launched soon! Should you have any questions on our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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