Dublin Bikes

he Irish Times has a story reminding us of the runaway success of Dublin Bikes, the bike rental scheme in Dublin city. The question is why is this so popular? It strikes me that Dublin is small enough to cycle but too big too walk, while motorised public transport is inconvenient and taxis too expensive.

Dublin Bikes copies Velo’v in Lyons, which was introduced in May 2005. There is no academic literature on who uses these bikes and why (but there is work on the trips taken). Bike rental is typically presented as a complement to other forms of public transport. A look at the station map suggests that Dublin Bikes are used to get around the city, rather than get into the city. Bike rides would thus replace bus rides and walks. Assuming that Dublin Bus did not respond by changing routes or frequencies, that means that Dublin Bikes does not reduce emissions and increases congestion by putting more bikes on the road.