A Promising Start for Minneapolis Bike-Sharing

The early data is in on one of the country’s pioneering bike-sharing systems, and it brings some encouraging news.

Minneapolis’s Nice Ride, which launched this summer, topped 100,000 trips in its first five months. Crash rates and vandalism were very low. Perhaps most interesting was the effect on driving, reports The Bike-Sharing Blog. Nice Ride surveyed 680 users and found that nearly 20 percent used the system instead of driving:

Attendees of a designers' conference take a spin on Minneapolis's bike-sharing system, Nice Ride. Photo: UCDA Design Conference

That’s outstanding and is quite higher than other cities’ mode shift percentages from bike-sharing, which includes Lyon, France with only about 4% shifting away from driving, according to the NICHES publication on bike-sharing. Not too shabby.

Regarding theft and vandalism, it’s clear that Minnesotans and Minneapolis’ visitors are honest and good riders and drivers. There were only two bikes lost and three incidents of vandalism causing damage greater than $100. Take THAT, Paris with its horrendous theft and vandalism record! (I’m only kidding, j’aime Paris.) Also, there were no reports of injury and only one reported crash.

As we’ve reported before, American bike-sharing systems are trailing their European counterparts in station density and overall ridership. Many European cities have made more substantial commitments to expansive programs.

But the promising numbers coming out of Minneapolis could help provide the basis for the future expansion of bike sharing in the U.S.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Burning the Midnight Oil asks whether the imperiled passenger rail systems in Ohio and Wisconsin could be self-supporting or even profitable. Bike Portland looks to Europe for inspiration on reducing distracted driving. And Sprawled Out reports on a survey of East Coast developers who reported that Smart Growth is the new “safe bet” financially.