Author: Richard Dilks, Chief Executive, CoMoUK
Did you ever hear about the time completing a survey changed the world? Bear with me.
Here at CoMoUK – the national shared transport charity – one of the key things we do is annual research with bikeshare schemes and their users. This isn’t just any old data-gathering exercise, but the only one of its kind in the UK and one of just a handful worldwide.
It shines an open access light on the sector, not just in terms of what schemes are where and how big they are, but also who is using them and why and – we’re not done yet – what the impacts of all that are.
It shines this light across all bikeshare schemes in the country and it does so in public domain for everyone to see. To do this we get data from all scheme operators and also have users fill in our survey and send us their comments.
Decision-makers benefit from understanding the sector and the heavy lifting it is doing in terms of low carbon journey provision and boosting use of public transport, walking, cycling on your own bike and using other shared transport schemes, and the CoMoUK annual research is the way they can – and do – do this.
But it can only do this if bikeshare users fill it in.
So here I am asking that you please do just that if you have used a bikeshare scheme, and whether you have or haven’t, please do also share our Bike Share User Survey on social media and in your networks.
Without people doing this we would never have got to find out that for 60% of people, using a shared bike was their first time back in the saddle in at least a year or ever. We are a nation that knows how to cycle – it’s just that we don’t as a body of people do it that much – so this is crucial stuff. Or that 54% of bikeshare users use it to access public transport once a month or more. Or that 61% of users say bikeshare saves them money.
Hang on though, didn’t I mention changing the world?
Well, while the landscape for bikeshare in the UK has a long way to go to reach nirvana, it is generally at all time highs of provision and use with new places coming on stream (Leeds leaps out as an example) albeit there are some that sorely need to come back (Edinburgh, for example). For authorities locally, regionally and nationally to be comfortable with bikeshare they need to understand it and be able to interrogate it. The CoMoUK research has been and continues to be a core part of that. And bikeshare is in turn a part of how the UK world shifts towards sustainable transport. Our latest (2022) report found that this saved 71 kg of carbon on average per bikeshare user per year. Of course we wouldn’t know that without the research…