8 Legitimate Reasons To Finally Join Your City's Bike Share Program

With bike share programs springing up in cities and towns all over the world, some of us are wondering what the fuss is all about.

In 2015, the number of bike-share bicycles rose to an estimated 1 million. Citi Bike, New York City’s bike share, is expanding its fleet to 12,000 bikes.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have smaller bike shares, such as WE-cycle. This is Aspen, Colorado’s 100-bike program, and the first bike share program in a mountain resort town in North America.

There is a wide range in terms of size, but all bike share programs offer the same benefits to users.

What’s the catch? Why are so many people taking advantage of bike share systems across the globe?

Bike sharing is an innovative transportation program that is becoming more and more mainstream. Users can pick up a bike at a self-service station, and return it to any other station in that city. There’s a time limit (usually 30 minutes to an hour), so bike sharing is ideal for short-distance, point-to-point transportation.

The perks extend beyond obvious ones, such as eco-friendliness and convenience. Here are eight reasons to join your local bike share (even if you already own a bike):

1. Flexibility in your schedule

A great advantage of bike share programs is the accessibility of the bikes, no matter where you are. Perhaps you’re in town on foot, or you got a ride in a friend’s car. The fact that bicycles are readily available at stations all over your city makes it easy to grab a bike, and ride to your next destination.

Using bike share, you can bike into town at night and have a few drinks without worrying about riding your own bike home. Bike sharing is the perfect way to use bikes flexibly when and where you need, completely on your own schedule. It’s also ideal for one-way trips.

2. Workout

If you’re someone who likes finding ways to sneak in a workout, joining a bike share is a great idea. Instead of spending your commute sitting still in a bus, train or car, hop on a bike and whittle your waistline.

An average person can burn up to 50 calories per mile while biking.

3. Save money

Gas is expensive, and so are train passes and Metro cards. You can save 50 cents per mile by biking instead of driving. That may not sound like much, but it adds up.

Let’s say you have an 4-mile commute to work (one way). The average annual cost of operating a car is $8,220, but annual bike share passes range from only $50 to $150. Obviously, it depends on your biking to driving ratio, but you could potentially save a lot by joining a bike share.

4. Sustainability

In addition to not paying for gas, biking means not burning gas. By eliminating carbon emissions, bike share users curb millions of pounds of carbon each year, working toward a cleaner, greener world for all.

According to Dr. Susan Shaheen, the director at UC Berkley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center:

Each mile someone rides on a bike share bike instead of driving a car means about 1 pound of carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere.

If sustainability is important to you, joining a bike share is an incredible way to go green.

5. Avoid traffic

Commuters in any given city know rush-hour traffic can be abysmal. It's a true source of frustration and road-rage before you’ve even had your morning coffee. Bike share users save time and avoid aggravating traffic jams, therefore making them happier, saner people.

6. Have fun

Biking is fun, a lot more fun than driving or sitting on a bus. Feel the wind in your face as you speed along and the wheels rolling under you. After a bike ride, you’re guaranteed to show up to your destination with a smile on your face.

7. Never worry about locking your bike

Bike share users love how they can bike from one point to another hassle-free. Users never have to worry about locking their bikes or remembering where they parked them.

With a quick swipe of a keycard, you can check out a bike and then conveniently slide it into a dock when the ride is done.

8. Avoid the hassles of parking

Parking can be a real pain, especially when you factor in annoyances like pricey parking tickets. Bike share users never have to stress over finding parking in a jam-packed city, or make sure they have enough quarters for the meter.

Biking is a simpler and less stressful mode of transportation.