Montreal’s Bixi Bicycle Share Will Showcase Program in GG Park Sunday

bixi_small.jpgPhoto: Adrien B

The MTA and City Car Share are welcoming the Bixi bicycle share program from Montreal, Canada, to San Francisco this Sunday to demonstrate how bicycle share could work if this city embraces it. City CarShare is using the event to conduct a user survey and provide information about the service to interested riders in the park.

“At City CarShare, we know first hand that San Franciscans are open to sharing a mode of transportation and we are excited to see this concept explored further," said Anita Daley of City CarShare. "With this demo, we hope to foster enthusiastic discussion about the service, as it can be a great way for riders to bypass traffic and lower their carbon-footprints while enjoying a healthy activity.”

As Streetsblog has argued more than once, were San Francisco to develop a
bicycle share program with sufficient ubiquity, the
city would need far more than the 50 bicycles originally suggested by Mayor
Newsom to be installed on private property while the bike injunction is in place. Using Paul DeMaio’s metric of 1 bicycle for every 150 people and five stations per every square kilometer, San Francisco should have over 5300 bicycles at over 600 stations.

Given that the bicycle injunction will likely be a distant
memory by the time we have a working system, policy
makers should have sufficient opportunity to find fiscal sponsors to underwrite a much larger program, one that wouldn’t be set up
from the start to fail.

At a minimum, the demonstration this Sunday should whet the public’s appetite for bicycle sharing and perhaps plant a seed to demand a solid and workable system when that time comes.

MTA spokesperson Judson True sounded an optimistic tone, saying that this Sunday’s event was part of Bixi’s west coast tour and a natural synergy for City CarShare to promote alternatives to personal car ownership. While the MTA is studying the various possibilities for bicycle sharing, it has no concrete timeline for a system.

"We’re excited to have this groundbreaking system from Montreal visit SF and we’ll be watching closely how much people like it," said True. "With JFK closed on Sunday, it’s a great opportunity to have people try it out. Let’s hope the sun comes out too."

  • Any idea when and where in GGP the demo will be? Thanks

  • CT

    when will SFMTA start to charge bicycles for parking too??? the number of bicycles we have in the city should be able to help Muni be greener.

  • Hey kids! Can you say “radioactive cycling”? The main sponsor of Bixi is… Rio Tinto Alcan! They’re a daughter of the Rio Tinto Group and they mine… uranium! No, it’s not about the aluminum used in those bikes. They are also connected in a big way to massive hydro projects in Quebec.

    Now, if I expect any cyclists in the world to NOT be opportunists and greenwash-enablers it’s my old friendly friends in San Francisco and the Bay Area!

    I thought that Bixi was free of the horrible traitorous nonsense involving “free” bikes with Clear Channel, JCDecaux and Cemusa, but I was wrong, and actually this Rio Tinto hocus pocus was no secret.

    People think it is about the aluminum for the bikes. It is not.

    Don’t let me down! Don’t let US down.

  • its not perfect, but its a good start. we need to do this if we are to survive the next hundred years. there are solid working models of bike share programs in all the major cities of europe.

    bike theft is one thing that might really slow programs like this from working in the states. it strange but the US seems to be one of the only countries where people jack each others bikes. other countries ive been, rich or poor, it seems like people dont steal bikes. my friends road around tokyo with flossed out track bikes and didnt even use locks, and no one in the caribbean towns really uses locks for there cruisers either.

    maybe someday we will be cool enough.

  • Hi… found something else…

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    The Bixi is here, and (surprise) Bixi LIES unmasked

    Most of it is in French…. see

  • DaveO

    I was in Montreal last month and the Bixi system is great. The bikes are sturdy and the system is very logical. THe only problem is that, even after two months, a large number of the bike stations were breaking down and not letting you put your rented bike back in the receptable.

    But overall, Bixi was fabulous. It became my primary mode of transportation in Montreal.

  • ioa

    After 9 years of living in Montreal, and now planning to move to SF, one of the first things I thought of when the Bixis were introduced, was: “I wish they had them in San Francisco!”

    I was in Paris a couple of years ago, just a before they introduced the bike system there. A few days later, the city was transformed! I was very proud to see this system enter North America through my dear Montreal.
    The streets here have been changing the last few years to accommodate cycling lanes everywhere, as well as a more and more popular tour of the island. However, from the moment the Bixis arrived (a couple of months ago), it’s as though they’ve always been here. How have we managed without them?

    – they are everywhere (at least around the downtown neighbourhoods),
    – they are convenient (if one goes out, no need to worry about getting the bike stolen, no need to care for the bike if it’s not needed after reaching the destination i.e. chaperoning the bike back home, just park it at a station and forget about it!)
    – the loading and unloading of the bike takes seconds
    – the stations are monitored online (so that we can see how many bikes are available for each)
    – the pricing is incredibly affordable (first 1/2 hr is free, $1 per each next 30 minutes, up to $6 a day, $28 dollars/month and about $70 for about 8 months) for those not owning a bike or visiting
    – the pricing beats the public transit, for travel within an hour
    – they are durable, safe, easily adjustable for different heights, with speeds for going up the hills
    – they are ecological
    – they keep one fit
    – they take you anywhere you want to go, without a need for scheduling (as when waiting for the bus/metro)
    – they allow one to indulge in the city in a new way
    – they discourage the ugly smoky rusty traffic; why does anyone drive downtown, again?

    Disadvantages? That I can’t take one on the plane with me.

    I do hope San Francisco will welcome Bixi. I, for one, will love it.


  • For similar reasons that people avoid conflict diamonds, might we consider these bikes “conflict cruisers?” Honestly, I’d rather subject our eyeballs to a few tasteful ads on our velo-shares from time to time to offset costs rather than riding conflict cruisers, non?

  • hillab

    OK…so I’m way late posting on this…but I live in Barcelona right now. Barcelona uses the BICING program (I think Milan does as well). It works fantastic here…EVERYONE uses the bikes…there are definitely more than 50 bicycles here…there are stations set up everywhere around the city. It’s great to see it working…I always wondered why San Francisco hasn’t started this?! Someone told me “Because it has too many hills.” That is the lamest excuse…it’s time people got outside on the bike!

  • ioa

    Unfortunately, SF is not really prepared for this. As much as many consider it the biking capital of US, it is way behind Montreal and many European cities, in many ways:

    – very few biking lanes
    – very few separated from cars by curb
    – having biking lanes between car lanes and car parking is absurd. on many occasions, there are street signs, construction signs, etc on the biking lanes.
    – drivers are not often watching out for bikers, not even when crossing “bike lanes”
    – bikers themselves are negligent, don’t signal, don’t follow street laws (cross on red light), don’t seem to be fined for it. many bikes don’t even have cat eye lights.
    – in some areas in the bay area, biking on the side walk is legal. this greatly endangers the pedestrians (especially since many bikes don’t even have a honk)

    It may well be that changing the roads, changing some laws to secure the safety of those that are nor driving, and enforcing fines would drastically change this.

    As it is, in a bike-unfriendly road system, this high level of mutual negligence and irresponsibility between drivers and bikers perpetuates a climate in which biking is downright dangerous in the city. A great shame, since biking would seem to have a perfect place in the general health- and environment-consciousness here, would alleviate some of the traffic, and might in some ways make the city even more dynamic than it is.

  • ioa

    I believe that if biking was as unsafe in Montreal as it is in SF, BIXI would not have the great effect it has. BIXI might however be just what this city needs to get its bike act together.


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