Small Town Bike Shares

5 Benefits of  a Small Town Bike Share

 

Small town USA is now seeing the multiple benefits of a bike share in their community. In most cases these communities don't have a congestion problem downtown, their public transportation systems are simple or even nonexistent. They aren't looking to solve the first and last mile complex. So what exactly are the benefits of adding a bike share to your small town?

1) Health Initiative - Communities across the US are always looking for new and creative initiatives to install in their community and yours is no different! While the concept of bike sharing might not be "new", the technology which has been developed and added to bikes can definitely make it creative and fun. The new technology can be used for new creative programs like a Calories Burned Competition or 25 weekly miles challenge. It is also a way to show investment in your community member's health.

2) Trail Projects - Chances are your community has developed a trail system or is in the process of a trails project. Every community would like their trail system to be very popular and highly used. One way to ensure more usage is by creating a bike share system at trailheads, which allows quick and simple access to bikes. Quick access at trailheads will have a positive correlation between biking and trail usage. The more barriers we minimize, the more usage of the trail.

3) Tourism - No matter the size or popularity of the town, we have visitors and tourists. Many will be visiting friends or family and some may just be passing through on a cross-country journey. No matter the purpose of their visit, a bike is a great amenity for them in your community. It gives them the ability to stretch their legs and exercise a bit but also gives them a more intimate way to tour your town. Pedaling through the parks, business district and landmarks is the best way for them to really understand the culture of your town.

4) Social - Quality of life infrastructure is a focus for most communities.  Iowa sees every year how bicycling can bring people together.  RAGBRAI in July brings thousands of people together to pedal across the state.  Your small town bike share can be used in a similar fashion, but a much smaller scale of course.  Creating “bike nights” or “bike & shop” events can help create something new and active within the community.  Your community fleet can also be used for bicycle safety events or guided group city tours.  

5) Millennials - Your small community is not alone when it comes to losing out on the recruitment of millennials.  We millennials are looking to reside in a place that has…. Well, the first 4 points in the read.  We crave innovative, creativity, things to do and high quality of life.  A bike share, no matter the size of the community, can be a great recruiting tool for young people.  It shows your community is unique and interesting.  A bike small town bike share program could be one of the missing pieces to help make your community cool and hip.

While many of the larger city bike share systems are only focused on the first and last mile of transportation, small community bike shares can be used for a variety of purposes.  These small fleets can be a multipurpose investment that has an ROI unlike anything other in a community.  I am not saying in this article that a bike share project is a “fix all”.  But if you want your community to be world class and competitive, you need a bike share program.  

Brian Dewey