The concept of bike sharing went mainstream about three years ago when the Vélib’ system blanketed Paris with 20000 bicycles. The success of the program in the French capital quickly lead to other cities wanting to get in on the action. Montréal became the first city in North America to introduce a bike sharing system bringing 5000 bikes to Quebec’s largest city.
Just recently Washington D.C. and Arlington launched Capital Bikeshare built on Montréal’s Bixi system in the Washington region with over 1000 bikes. Initial reaction has been largely positive and CaBi as it’s often called will hopefully be expanded with more bicycles and more stations in more parts of the region.
A great post today by Erik Weber at The City Fix discusses the quick maturation of bike sharing as a mode of transit and commuting. As more and more cities around the world introduce bike sharing programs the concept becomes less of a novelty and more a part of the city’s daily life. The proliferation of alternatives to auto transportation is essential for improving quality of life in a quickly growing region like metro Washington and one of the primary goals of Region Forward.