Bikeshares benefit their cities in small, varying, and sometimes imperfect ways. Such cautious and incremental gains aren’t the stuff of bold headlines. But they’re small because the idea doesn’t need a complete rethink. Perhaps that’s because the original idea itself was pretty radical. In fact, maybe it’s not really about bikes at all. We get excited about emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles (which Uber is pursuing) or Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, but bikeshares are at once a low-tech, low-cost solution that’s available right now. And they have fundamentally altered how people get around a city. In that sense, it’s no less revolutionary than any new technology.
Think about it, says Zoe Kircos of People for Bikes, “How often does a city get to launch an entirely new transportation option?”