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Combating Climate Change One Bike at a Time

Combating Climate Change One Bike at a Time

Bike sharing is a new industry aimed at combating climate change, which has already had an explosive impact on cities across California.


4 min read

June 19, 2022

Throughout the last decade, we have become increasingly aware of climate change and our individual impacts on the planet. In efforts to change our ways, some of us have begun shopping at local farmers' markets, taking public transportation, eating organic foods, or giving up animal products. Luckily, we are not alone in this fight to combat our carbon footprints. Businesses of all kinds are stepping up and creating new opportunities for us to make less harmful choices.

Bike-sharing is one of these new industries, and it has already had an explosive impact. Bikes of all colors are popping up in cities across the country, fitted with easy technology that allows riders to unlock the bikes with a click of a button.

This trend has been on an upward slope for a few years, as illustrated by the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ 2017 report, which stated that U.S. locals and tourists took a total of 35 million bike-share trips over the year. Today, you can find over 17 separate companies for bike shares in California, each servicing a specific region throughout the state.

Biking along the California coastline is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

How Does Bike Share Work?

The basic concept of each company is quite similar: bikes are docked (whether in a rack or freely scattered), consumers unlock the bikes via an app on their phones or through centrally located kiosks that charge based on time (usually 30-minute increments), and then consumers lock the bike through the app or at a docking station when they are finished. This seemingly simple idea has expanded to include electric bike shares as well as scooters to make daily commutes even easier. With populations rising and residents flocking to urban cities, these options allow locals to largely skip out on traffic and reduce their carbon emissions.

Even ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are acquiring bike-share start-ups, giving commuters additional choices for getting around without having to pay a large overhead cost or download yet another app.

Many bike share systems allow users to locate and unlock bikes via a mobile app.

With Lime, Jump (acquired by Lime), and Bay Wheels in the San Francisco Bay Area, Metro Bike and LADOT throughout Los Angeles, DECOBIKE in San Diego, and city-specific companies like Beverly Hills Bike Share, getting a workout and seeing the cities in a new way has become infinitely easier. Whether you are headed to the grocery store or going on a sightseeing tour, try these environmentally conscious options for yourself and see why California’s biking scene has become so wildly popular.

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Bike Share Programs Across California

Coastal cities across the Golden State are known for their unique vibes, and an ideal way to experience those vibes on a daily basis is by bike. The notion goes both ways as well; locals and visitors going about their day on bikes only add to the charm of California’s beach towns. Biking in Santa Cruz, for instance, is one of the best ways to get around town for locals and tourists alike. Although Jump Bikes pulled out of Santa Cruz as the pandemic brought the business to a halt, the county is bound to bring back bike-sharing — but this time, on a larger scale. 

With the famous bright red color of its bikes, Jump is a commonly shared mobility program among residents of California.

With programs such as Metro Bike and LADOT providing bike shares in Los Angeles, city dwellers have a more sustainable way to make short trips. The Metro Bike Share System is available year-round, at any time of day, and anywhere from Hollywood to Westside, to Downtown and Central LA. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation, LADOT for short, also provides shared options for Angelenos as well as visitors to get around. Other sustainable options that LADOT offers include electric scooters and on-demand electric cars.

A $100 million funding allocated to protected bike lanes — in addition to several trails across the city — is enough to put San Diego on the biking map. With endless beaches, a bustling outdoor culture, and gorgeous weather year-round, biking is the way to move around in this city. San Diego bike share programs include DECOBIKE, Discover,  and Jump. 

Boasting a citywide reach, Decobike is available 24/7 from a range of locations. The program gives residents as well as visitors access to over 180 bike-sharing stations with more than 1,700 bikes. Whether you’re running errands, heading over to your hotel, or touring the city, San Diego’s main bike share program has got you — and the environment — covered. But Decobike isn’t the option for green modes of shared mobility in this SoCal city. While Jump allows you to locate and pay for rides via its application, Discover features generator lights and a front basket for your stuff.

Every shared bike ride you choose over a short trip by car helps in the battle against climate change.

The San Francisco bike-share scene doesn’t fall behind its neighbors, with the Bay Area alone offering options like Jump, Bay Wheels, and Lime. And with the various bike routes San Francisco has to offer, it only makes sense to give shared mobility a try.

Having replaced over 60 million car trips since 2017 and prevented more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, Lime is the largest shared mobility company in the world. Its Gen4 e-bike is also among the most sustainable electric bikes yet. The company also acquired Jump and is looking to develop its mobile app integration with Uber. As for Bay Wheels, it allows residents as well as tourists to mountain bike through the Bay Area under the Lyft platform. The service was previously known as Ford GoBike in partnership with Ford Motor Company.

It is generally evident that people who use a bike-share program are known to spend more money every week than those who travel by car. This is because you are more likely to make stops along the way, let’s say for coffee if you’re getting around by bike. But of course, this doesn’t compare to the amount of money you’d be spending on gas per month. Another way to look at this is that more money will go into the local economy than into gas companies.

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