I am a big ZipCar fan. I can guarantee that I would like a similar service using bicycles instead of cars, as well.
DC is launching a first extensive bike-sharing initiative in the US. Registered participants can access 120 “smart bikes” at 10 different locations in the downtown area. Retrieving the bike is easy.
- Go to any bike station (see photo)
- Wave your SmartBike DC user card in front of the card reader
- Follow instructions on screen
- Retrieve assigned bike from rack
Bike-sharing has been popular throughout Europe, with cities like Paris, Barcelona or Stockholm using them. Will it work in car-infatuated America? That’s a good question.
There are problems with the idea translating into this market. The US is a litigious society. People will sue if something happens to them. Helmets are not provided, yet they are required in many states. There are other liability issues. If they bike gets stolen, the customer pays.
I sincerely hope they can figure out how to make it work. It’s a great idea.