As you may already know BIXI was launched in Toronto this week. Thousands of Torontonians will have access to bikes across the downtown core 365 days a year. This service will make cycling easier and more convenient which means fewer cars needed for short trips. All the details are available at www.toronto.bixi.com
What you may not know is that Toronto General Hospital is getting 11 bikes stationed at the corner of University and Gerrard to make sure our staff have access to bikes when they need them. Over 1000 memberships were sold by the City last year before the bikes even arrived. Now that the bikes are here the demand for these swift rides will steadily grow. I belive the number of bikes and stations will quickly expand. In Paris, where the program was born, they have 20,000 bikes and although I have not seen it with my own eyes I have heard that BIXI bikes dominate the streets there. In Montreal, the first Canadian city to adopt BIXI, they have 5000 bikes and it is a popular service for locals and tourists.
The time has come Toronto to think differently about commuting. We can not depend on cars and buses and fossil fuels alone to get around. We need human-powered transportation as well. According to a report published by Toronto Public Health in 2007 Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto a 30% reduction in vehicle emissions could save nearly 200 lives per year and almost one billion dollars in health costs.
There are so many things to love about bike riding and BIXI will provide 1000 reminders in the form of physical bikes to people in the downtown core that cycling is a safe and convenient option for everyone.
If anyone has a first hand experience with bike sharing please post a comment and let us know about it.