The Country's Largest Bike Sharing Systems

January 2, 2012 36 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

In 2011, the total number of cities with bikesharing and the total number of bikesharing stations in the country have more than doubled. How long will Jacksonville wait before becoming the next community to attempt to address mobility by methods other than additional roadway construction?

What Is Bicycle Sharing?

A bicycle sharing system is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals who do not own them. Bicycle sharing systems can be divided into two general categories: "Community Bike programs" organized mostly by local community groups or non-profit organizations; and "Smart Bike programs" implemented by government agencies, sometimes in a public-private partnership. The central concept of these systems is to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in an urban area as an alternative to motorized public transportation or private vehicles, thereby reducing traffic congestion, noise, and air pollution. Bicycle sharing systems have also been cited as a way to solve the "last mile" problem and connect users to public transit networks.

A Denver B-cycle Station in downtown Denver.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

US Bikesharing Systems Ranked By Size, 2011

 1. Washington/Arlington, DC/VA: 140 stations

 2. Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MD: 115 stations

 3. Miami Beach, FL: 70 stations

 4. Boston, MA: 61 stations

 5. Denver, CO: 52 stations*

 6. Madison, WI: 27 stations

 7. Broward County, FL: 20 stations

 8. San Antonio, TX: 20 stations

 9. Boulder, CO: 15 stations*

10. Washington State University - Pullman, WA: 8 stations

11. Chicago, IL: 7 stations

12. Omaha, NE: 5 stations

13. University of California - Irvine: 4 stations

14. Des Moines, IA: 4 stations

15. Louisville, KY: 3 stations

16. Kailua, HI: 2 stations

17. Spartanburg, SC: 2 stations

* Denver and Boulder are counted separately, but cross-honor memberships. Together they have 67 stations.

Before any claims that bicycle sharing won't work in certain areas of Jacksonville, smaller cities like Des Moines, IA are successfully implementing systems in their downtowns and most compact neighborhoods.  Image courtesy of

Coming in 2012

New York City, NY: 600 stations

Chicago, IL: 300 stations (80 stations covered by federal TIGER grants)

Denver, CO: 35 additional stations