San Diego to Launch a Bike Sharing Program

Councilmember Todd Gloria at the bike share demo yesterday. Photo from Todd Gloria’s Facebook page.

As reported by Voice of San Diego, Mayor Sanders appears to have finally realized the potential that comes with promoting bicycles as a mode of transportation and recreation. In Sander’s press release this morning he states that San Diego will be breaking new ground,

This program is innovative because it will be one of the first in the nation to operate without public funding.

Councilmember Todd Gloria was in attendance at yesterday’s bike share demo and stated, “I had a lot of fun at today’s bike sharing demonstration in Downtown. The bike I test drove is a part of Madison, WI’s system. If Wisconsin can do bike sharing, San Diego certainly can too!”

In our continuous quest to raise the bar, we ask that Councilmember Gloria now ropes in the rest of his colleagues into sharing his enthusiasm for bikes including Councilmembers Zapf, Lightner and, Young. Councilmember Lightner especially needs to be brought in to the fold since she’s been busy wasting time chasing away little kids from makeshift bike parks instead of working to create a safe harbor like Councilmember Faulconer has.

In reading VOSD’s writeup and subsequent comments of the upcoming bike share program, readers were subject to the usual bike bashing by the bike hating residents of San Diego. My only complaint about the grumblings is that they weren’t substantiated by any data. When I attended a presentation on bike share systems nearly two years ago, the biggest takeaway was how quickly these programs broke even. Absent public funding, I’d be curious to see how quickly San Diego’s bike share system breaks even.

Another issue that comes to mind with the Mayor’s announcement is whether the driver/rider/pedestrian antagonism is going to escalate given that most of the mid-city and beach communities lack protected bike infrastructure (aside from the “bike” paths along the San Diego river and along the Pacific Ocean). I wonder if the city is going to use the popularity of the bike share system to begin implementing some key north/south and east/west protected bike infrastructure such as cycle tracks. While it would be ideal to have a bike share system implemented after some major bike infrastructure had been implemented, I do believe that perfect is the enemy of good. So I applaud the Mayor for taking this step, imperfect as it may be, to propel San Diego forward.