The Ballard News Tribune reports that a pilot bike sharing program could be headed to Ballard as early as November:
Ballard resident Mark Hulscher and the Bike Share Group want to create the first Seattle bike share system that will support the community’s long-term goals for livability by providing transportation alternatives that reduce people’s environmental impact.
Hulscher plans to implement a 20-bike pilot system in Ballard by November. Ballard visitors and residents will be able to check out a bike from of the the five to 10 stations. After taking a trip, the bike is returned to a station and automatically locked at an empty dock.
Bike sharing systems have proven to be very successful all around the world. But Seattle has a few challenges to implementing a bike sharing system. For one, King County has a mandatory helmet law. Bike sharing programs would likely be dependent on the concept that you do not need to own/bring anything in order to use it. It will be interesting to see how this first pilot works out some of these details.
I’m a bit worried that this incremental approach is itself a problem. London and Paris (the only bikesharing cities I know much about) both implemented this over a large area quickly, and that makes the bikes much more useful. If people can only return them to 5-10 stations in one neighbourhood, they aren’t going to offer much advantage over walking.