Today’s Courier Mail has another negative article on Brisbane’s CityCycle bike hire scheme. The recurring criticism is a valid one – hardly anyone is using the bikes.
Politicians, transport bureaucrats and state-based bicycle advocacy groups in Australia have proffered every imaginable excuse for the failure of bike hire in Brisbane and Melbourne. For some, it’s the weather – Brisbane is too hot, Melbourne is too rainy. Others claim the casual usage fees are too high (a casual daily subscription is $11 for CityCycle). Or that there are too many hills and not enough bike lanes.
While each of these factors undoubtedly has some marginal effect on usage, none come close to explaining the the drastic under-performance of bike hire in Australia. For example Melbourne does not have higher patronage than Brisbane despite being mainly flat with casual daily subscription rate of just $2. Cool, fine days (which are plentiful in Brisbane at this time of year) do not see the people out in their thousands to use the bikes.
Sadly, Australian politicians and bureaucrats refuse to acknowledge what everyone else knows: public bike hire schemes will not work with mandatory helmet laws, as the table below so clearly illustrates.
Public bike hire schemes worldwide