Bikeshare Continuing to Kick Ass (When You Can Get a Bike)

Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour

From DDOT:

Today Capital Bikeshare released two new reports that provide detailed information on how members are utilizing the system, the types of trips they make and the overall impact of the program on the members’ health. The reports analyze two surveys that were administered in the fall of 2012 and received over 6,800 responses combined.

The 2013 Capital Bikeshare Member Survey Report focuses on travel behavior patterns; including types of trips made, reasons for joining, demographic information, driving miles reduced and the effect on patronage of local businesses.

The second report, Health Implications of the Capital Bikeshare Program focuses on how Capital Bikeshare affects the health of members.

The full reports can be found here.

Some of the highlights of the reports include:

Capital Bikeshare members saved an average of about $800 annually on travel
80 percent of respondents said they are more likely to patronize a bikeshare accessible establishment
50 percent said they drive a car less often since joining Capital Bikeshare
31.5 percent reported reduced stress as a result of using Capital Bikeshare
20.6 percent reported increased aerobic capacity

55 Comment

  • Left my house at 8am this morning and despite 3 bikeshare stations within a 5 min walk of my place — 16th and Harvard, 14th and Harvard and 15th and Euclid still could not get one to ride to work. Getting them on weekends can be a challenge as well.


    • ledroittiger

      Agreed. I live in the Adams Morgan area and despite recent additions of stations at 18th and Wyoming and 15th and Euclid, I can never get a bike. That includes California & Florida, Columbia & Belmont, Adams Mill & Columbia, 20th & Florida, and New Hampshire & T. I’m more likely to have a dock in that area to park on the way home from the West End at 7-8pm, but even that is pretty rare.

    • Yes, I left at at 8:15 this morning and not one station in Columbia Heights had bikes. It wasn’t long ago that I could easily get a bike before 9:00. Also, I’ve noticed that more and more docks don’t work. I’m glad they are so successful, but maybe they should focus on making sure existing stations are stocked and working rather than on creating new stations.

    • justinbc

      When I lived in Logan Circle there were 4 or 5 stations within walking distance from my house. If I left by 7:30 I rarely had a problem getting a bike (unless it was an exceptionally nice day, then everyone decides to finally use them), but if I waited til 8 or later they were pretty much all wiped out, quite consistently. If you’re repeatedly finding empty stations then try adjusting your daily leave time.

    • What about using your own bike then?

  • It seems bikes are only available on a consistent basis during peak times and nice weekends at the largest stations. 15th and P, Dupont Circle and 10th and PA Avenue by the Justice Dept. come to mind as large stations. So wonder if Bikeshare should focus adding more bikes/capacity at existing stations. If you ever go to Montreal, some of those stations hold around 50 bikes.

  • Well, it seems someone is getting the bikes.

  • I got a bike this morning but had a hard time finding a docking station downtown.

  • As an avid cyclist who uses my bike as my primary form of transportation, I’m psyched to see more and more people on bikes every year, including those riding Bikeshare bikes. But one thing that has concerned me about Bikeshare users is that most of them don’t wear helmets. This report substantiates my impression. Only 13% of users surveyed reported always wearing a helmet, while only another 19% report wearing helmets most of the time . . . meaning nearly 70% of users rarely or never wear helmets. Over the course of a couple decades riding a bike, I’ve taken countless spills. On several occasions I’ve hit my head in a way that would have caused serious injury had I not been wearing my helmet. Please folks, do yourselves a favor . . . and do a favor for the motorist who might hit you . . . and wear a helmet.

    • Also, don’t ride through red lights and stop signs.

      • What do you mean “ride through red lights and stop signs?” Do you mean after stopping and looking both ways to ensure cars are not coming, still stop like a car? Or do you mean, don’t recklessly try and get yourself killed by not slowing down at lights and stop signs and instead throwing yourself in front of cars?

        • I mean obey traffic laws. Just because you’re not using a motor vehicle it doesn’t mean you can blow through red lights and stop signs.

          • You didn’t really answer Dan M’s question. What do you mean by “blow through”? Having a bike sit at a red light at an empty intersection completely obviates the advantages of having bicycles as one available mode of transportation.

          • To further my point, would we have red lights at most intersections if cars were as light and maneuverable as bikes? Or are most traffic laws in place to regulate motor vehicle behavior?

          • “Having a bike sit at a red light at an empty intersection completely obviates the advantages of having bicycles as one available mode of transportation”

            No it doesn’t. Not even close.

        • Simple: Stop like the law says.

          • Maybe we should advocate for a law change to update for common sense? Unfortunately, the common sense (?) on this issue is that bikes should be considered cars.

          • Advocate for it. WABA & GGW do.

            But why don’t you follow the law that exists? You ain’t gonna get Idaho stops in DC… but jyust keep doing them as the law doesn’t mean anything anyway.

        • Someone at 11th and W learned the hard way last week why bicyclists should follow all traffic laws

    • Purplepalace, on the helmet issue: It’s part of the nature of bikeshare.

      I normally commute and otherwise get around on my own bike, and I wear my helmet 100% of time. I’m also a bikeshare member, and typically use those bikes for spur-of-the-moment trips, often to return home from somewhere to which I did not bike. As a result, I’m wearing a helmet fairly close to 0% of the time on a bikeshare bike. Personally, I am extra careful on a CaBi, but if I was only going to use them when I have a helmet, my ridership would drop to close to 0. For better or worse.

  • I’m no economist, but it seems like raising the price would solve some of the congestion issues, no?

    • It definitely would. Market is always right.

    • Except that the whole point of CaBi is to get as many people as possible to ride.

      • Then wouldn’t making it completely free maximize ridership?

        • If CaBi was free, ridership would most definitely go up, but then there wouldn’t be funds to pay for upkeep, staff, etc. I think the ideal solution would be for CaBi to make more bikes available (to accommodate a larger number of customers) while keeping prices as low as possible.

    • True, but I would be concerned about maintaining the affordability of Bikeshare for low-income residents who are using the bikes as a cheaper alternative to Metro or owning a car (or who don’t have a straight-shot route to work or school on Metro). Any increase that was substantial enough to dissuade a middle- or high-income person from using Bikeshare would be a much more significant chunk of money for a lower-income consumer. I would rather see either more bikes in the bike docks, or some creative alternative ways to cycle (no pun intended) the bikes back to the high-use docks. (I can’t remember if it was DC or some other city that did this, but I remember reading about some discounts to incentivize people riding the bikes back to peak-use docks within a certain timeframe.)

      • I would be highly surprised if low income people are making much use of bikeshare as it is even with the cheap membership (around 20 cents a day if you get the annual membership of $75), which seems like an almost exclusively yuppie thing to me.

        • This sounds like a good Kickstarter campaign!

        • justinbc

          This is definitely painting with a broad brush, but in all my travels around the city I can’t recall any of the CaBi users I’ve seen who “looked” low income. I’m sure there might be some, but this is most definitely seen a luxury subscription item, even if it is relatively cheap.

        • There is a program to help people with lower income become members through Bank on DC. One of the biggest barriers to membership is needing a credit card, this program helps get around that impediment and offers a discounted membership fee.

          • I’ve never had trouble getting a credit card. When I was in college I used to get them all the time to get whatever tee shirt they were giving away. I still have a lot of the tee shirts (though they don’t fit me like they used to ;), but I cut up most of the credit cards as I got a little reckless with them after I graduated.

          • DowntownJim is right. Why don’t those low income folks just get credit cards next time they’re at college? Seems like a pretty obvious solution to me.

          • I don’t think DowntownJon was saying that.

          • DowntownJim, a key phrase in your comment: “when I was in college”…when you and pretty much every other student was in college, the credit card companies flocked to YOU. It’s also likely that by the time you got to college–and presumably already had dealt with the FAFSA and similar financial stuff–you had experience/familiarity with the mainstream financial system from observing your parents/relatives, etc. (I don’t mean any of this to come off as snarky…I just work in a field that involves personal finance and asset building among the unbanked and underbanked, so I see many of these issues every day.)

            For those who don’t have bank accounts or credit cards, there are usually a combination of reasons: 1) bank branches aren’t convenient or don’t seem convenient; 2) people think they don’t make enough money to make it worth having a bank account; 3) aside from BankOn’s “second chance” accounts, some people can’t get an account because of past credit problems or a history in ChexSystems. Finally, there are some barriers like banks seeming intimidating to customers, or confusing with their fee structures. Part of the reason check-cashing joints thrive in low-income/underbanked neighborhoods is not only their proliferation there and agressive marketing, but their seemingly simple fee structure: often $X or x% for cashing a check. Even though the fees often add up to be more in the long run, consumers feel like they at least KNOW what they’re being charged. Compare this to the inscrutable fine print and the various bank account elements–minimum balances, ATM fees, overdraft fees–that can seem baffling to people who don’t already have a familiarity and comfort level with mainstream banking.

          • I guess I never thought about it that way. Thanks for the info!

      • skj84

        Bikeshare actually has a pay per month plan. It’s $7.00 per month with a years commitment. You do pay a bit more for a yearly membership, but paying monthly takes the sting off pay $75.00 at once.

        I’ve had a membership since March and honestly don’t why I didn’t join sooner. I live in Maryland, but work and spend most of my time in DC and Bikeshare definitely makes getting around the city much easier.

  • Bikes need to wait at stop lights and signs just like cars have to. Why not? The signs help order the flow of traffic for the saftey of others using the road. Cyclists boulevarding past signs adds unpredictability to others navigating the roads and endangers them. The signs are for all vehicular traffic.

    • justinbc

      “Why not?”

      Because we aren’t ticketed for it. I’m not justifying it, I’m just telling you why it will continue to happen. Until someone starts writing tickets the behavior pattern will not change. I could say the very same thing about jaywalking, something which occurs much more frequently but is 99.9% ignored.

      • No, cyclists can and are ticketed for blowing through stop signs.

        • justinbc

          I have never seen nor heard of this occurring. Not that I would know of every incidence, but I know a lot of bikers in the city personally and none of them have ever reported anything like this. The fact that none of them have ever mentioned it (compared to the countless number of people I know who complain about car tickets) should indicate how rarely it’s being enforced.

          • If ticketing is what it will take, go for it. Is cycling supposed to be a lawless activity?

          • I’ve gotten such a ticket out at Haines point (when clipped out of my pedals with foot on the ground!). Nice to meet you.

          • justinbc

            That seems kind of absurd given the number of infractions they could tally up closer into the city. Does Haines Point even have stop lights?

      • Yea, everyone knows that until cyclists are fined for their illegal actions, they will consider themselves above the law. But thanks for saying what others refise to.

        DC should have stings every day at different locations. They would make quite a bit of cash hitting up all the cyclists who blow through the signs going south on NH Ave below 16th Street.

        And DC would make a killing ticketing all the jaywalking peds on 14th or 15th & K who cross against the left turn arrow.

      • Generally speaking, from my experience as both a hoofer, a motorist, and a biker, jaywalkers risk their own lives. Scofflaw cyclists generally risk others’ lives (including little kids).

  • I don’t know about you guys, but riding to work makes me a little sweaty come this time of year. 🙁 Anyone have any advice on a good routine to keep smelling…work friendly? 🙂 Product tips (deodorants, etc.) would be appreciated, too!

    • justinbc

      I invested quite a bit in linen clothing, especially pants. Even if it’s just a linen blend it helps drastically with cooling. Also, if you have the option, just bike in your undershirt and then put your dress shirt on at the office. (That tip are definitely more catered towards men.) If your hours are flexible at work then bike earlier in the summer than the winter, once the sun is full overhead it becomes brutal.

      • What about showering? Do you have one at work? I don’t want to stink in the office, my cubemate (good friend) will hate me! LOL.

    • Three tips:
      Always bike on the shady side of the street and invest in a couple pairs of Lululemon Mission Pants. Those things are “tha bomb”. LOL

    • I don’t bicycle to work, but when I anticipate the walk to/from Metro being sweaty, I’ll pack a clean top to change into. (I think this came up in the Rant/Revel thread.)

      If I were a dude and were bicycling in an undershirt, I think I’d want to change into a fresh undershirt before putting a dress shirt on.

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