This is the conclusion of Gert Brams’ request for data from operators of these systems for his postgraduate thesis at PCVO Handel in Diepenbeek (Belgium). His report 'Pas op daar komt een fiets' reveals an interesting amount of data on organisation and use of rental bike systems in Europe. But only rarely did these data provide proof that people do actually cycle more.
Barcelona is one of the exceptions. Counts demonstrate that bicycle use on a number of routes has increased substantially. A 26% increase on those routes last year would mainly be attributable to the BICING system, as 46% of this was because of BICING. Overall the percentage of bicycle use would have doubled by now.
Brams states that counts are by no means the whole story as far as the success of rental bike systems is concerned. 'Rental bikes also help to dispel the myth that some countries do not possess a cycling culture.' In conclusion he states a number of factors that affect the success of rental bikes. All studies, for instance, indicate that 90% of all journeys is free of charge, which means this should be taken into account in the introduction of such a system.