Bike Sharing Needed in Jacksonville

Jacksonville needs a bike-share program. We are way behind other similar cities in Florida. Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg all have or soon will have bike share. (Miami, Tampa and Orlando join us as previously ranked as the worst cities in the US for pedestrians and cyclists – but they are making fast changes!)

Today more than 500 cities in 49 countries host advanced bike-sharing programs, with a combined fleet of over 500,000 bicycles.  Yet, Jacksonville’s downtown configuration is more appropriate and adaptable to a bike share program than many other cities that already have highly successful programs.  I hope you would consider supporting a bike share program.  Even if we began planning for such a program now, it would take 1 -2 years for such a program to begin.

What is Bike Sharing?

Bike sharing is a non-motorized transportation service, typically structured to provide users point-to-point transportation for short distance trips (0.5 to 3 miles). It provides users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike sharing station in the network and return it to any other bike sharing station (including the origin).

A bike sharing station is the structure that holds the automated customer kiosk, and the docks that dispense the bicycles. A station can hold a minimum of one bicycle and up to a maximum number of bicycles by adding more dock platforms.

Bike sharing allows individuals convenient access to a bike when they need one, without the hassles and costs associated with private bicycle ownership. The idea behind bike sharing is to provide free or affordable access to bicycles, specifically for short-distance trips within city limits.

  • It is oriented to short-term, one-way use: 30 to 60 minutes rather than daily or weekly rental periods.
  • The bicycle can be returned to any number of unstaffed bike sharing stations, as well as the original rental location.
  • Generally, only one style of bicycle is available.
  • The rental transaction is fully automated and there is no need for on-site staff. Additionally, the hours of operation can be programmed or adjusted based upon a jurisdiction’s unique needs.
  • Because the bicycle is parked at a special docking station, the user is no longer responsible for the bicycle when the trip is finished, minimizing user liability and the responsibility for providing sufficient security.
  • To date, bike share systems in the U.S. have been implemented primarily in core urban areas.
  • As of March 2012, approximately 40 systems in the U.S. are either operational or in the planning stages.
  • For most existing U.S. bike share systems, the local government (i.e. town, city, county, etc.) has played a leading role either by initiating, funding, administering, operating or permitting the program.  Many programs are public-private partnerships.

Do Bike Share Programs Exist in Florida?

  1. Broward County has "Broward B-cycle" with 275 bicycles at 27 stations in 6 cities. In its first year, B-cycle participants burned 3.4 MILLION calories and kept 87,804 lbs of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere.
  2. Tampa has a bike-share program. they started one in 1997 by taking 50 unclaimed stolen bikes and created "borrow a bike" program. By Fall 2013, Tampa will have 300 new bikes and 30 sharing stations.
  3. Miami Beach, Surfside, Bay Harbor, and Long Beach have "DecoBike", with 100 bike-share stations and 1,000 bikes accessible 24 hours a day.
  4. Orlando and its entire region, including Winter Park and UCF, is rolling out its bike share program next summer.  They are working vigorously to plan and prepare for the regional program.
  5. St. Petersburg is well on its way to having bike share.  The City Council’s public services and infrastructure committeel passed the motion to move forward with the program unanimously. Once staff has contract in place, it will then go before the entire council for final approval.
  6. University of South Florida ("Borrow Our Bikes" and Rollins have their own college bike-share programs. FSU has the recycle Bike Program where students my rent refurbished bikes for $25 for a semester and $40 for an entire year.  Some of the bikes used in the program are donated by students, but most are collected by the FSU police department after they are abandoned on campus. After being tagged by FSU PD, if the bikes are not claimed by original owners within a certain period of time, they become free game. FSU reCycle makes all the necessary repairs to get them ready for the upcoming semester.

About Miami’s “Decoshare” Bike Sharing Program

Miami’s bike share program has been a tremendous success.  Please consider the following:

Jurisdiction Miami Beach, Florida
Opening date March 15, 2011

Service Area: 6.30 sq mi.
Station Density: 14.13 stations per square mile in service area
Bikes (start/current): 500/800
Stations (start/current): 50/91
Docks per station range: 8 to 34
Solar vs. Wired : Solar
Operation: Year-round
Number of members - Annual 2,500 members; Casual 338,828 members
Service Area demographics (per sq. mi)
Employment 3,425 jobs
Median Household Income $53,808
Housing Density 6,424 units
Equipment Ownership: Privately owned
Operator name: Deco Bike LLC
Equipment provider: Deco Bike LLC
Business model: For profit owned and operated
Funding sources: Private investment
Membership and usage fees
Advertising space -  City’s denomination
Reported bike thefts 7
Reported bike share crashes 1
Bike facilities characteristics - Sharrows throughout the city. Pathway along the and 35-85th street.
Membership and usage fees: $15 standard monthly (unlimited 30 min rides); $25 deluxe monthly (unlimited 60 min rides); $4 each additional 30 min. Hourly rentals of $4 - 30 min $5 - 1 hr; $10 2 hr; $18 4 hr; $24 1 day; $4 each additional 30 mins

About Spartanburg’s B-Cycle Bike Sharing Program

Even cities as small as Spartanburg, SC have bike sharing programs.  Here are some facts:

Jurisdiction Spartanburg, SC
Opening date July 7, 2011
Service Area: 1.42 sq mi.
Station Density: 1.41 stations per square mile in service area
Bikes (start/current): 14/14
Stations (start/current): 2/2
Docks per station range: 9 to 11
Solar vs. Wired : Solar and wired
Operation: Year round
Number of members - Annual 127 members; Casual 828 members
Service Area demographics (per sq. mi)
Employment 2,513 jobs
Median Household Income $24,540
Housing Density 5,801 units
Equipment Ownership: Non profit owned
Operator name: Partners for Active Living
Equipment provider: B-cycle
Business model: Nonprofit owned and managed
Funding sources: Local Grants: City of Spartanburg, Mary Black Foundation, and JM Smith Foundation Management
Membership and usage fees
Reported bike thefts 0
Reported bike share crashes 0
Bike facilities characteristics - 3.6 miles of bike lanes and signed routes; 2.7 miles of sharrows; 24.38 miles of trails; 7 miles of mountain bike trails; 172 Bike Racks
Membership and usage fees: $30 annual; $15 - 30 days;$5 - 24 hours; No fee first 60 min; $1 for each additional 30 min

Why is Bike Sharing Good for Jacksonville?

Jacksonville has a major disadvantage to people who want to use non-motorized transportation. Our downtown is segregated from most other parts of the City by water and bridges that are not usable to walk or bicycle, The Matthews Bridge and Hart Bridge are not usable at all. The Main Street Bridge can only be used for walking, but cycling. The Acosta Bridge is the only bridge than accommodate bicyclists and walkers, and conditions for cyclists are not optimum.

Downtown would be a perfect place for more bicycling and walking – everything is within 1-2 miles, including Everbank Stadium, Veteran’s Memorial Arena, The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, our Convention Center, Florida State College of Jacksonville, Moran Theater, The Jacksonville Landing, etc.  As an example, Except how does one get TO downtown with a bicycle? If our citizens want to ride a bike in the downtown, they most often must either ride a bus with a bike on the rack, or they must drive their own vehicle with a bike carrier to downtown first.

Bike Sharing would be perfect for San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, and Downtown. One could ride from San Marco to Downtown in less than 3 mles. One could ride from Riverside and 5 Points to Downtown in less than 3 miles. One could ride from Riverside to San Marco in less than 3 miles.  Downtown could be our first stage of the project.  Our citizens could take a bus into downtown, and then borrow a bicycle to move around town.

Here are a couple of important and valuable websites on Bike Sharing:

Also, please notice this Jacksonville Bike Sharing article that was written on January 2, 2012 in “Metro Jacksonvile” asking when Jacksonville would have bike share.