Hamilton's bike share pedals towards sustainable transport.

Crowds gather at Hamilton Bike to Work Day | Photo by Steve Watts 

Crowds gather at Hamilton Bike to Work Day | Photo by Steve Watts 

This summer, Hamilton will be launching a progressive and innovative Bike Share program to help citizens choose active transportation.

The Social Bikes (SoBi) system combines technology and sustainability to offer Hamilton residents a healthier, more enjoyable commute. With 105 stations to pick up and return a bike, SoBi brings reliability and efficiency to a rider’s commute. Utilizing a mobile app, users can conveniently reserve, check out and ride one of the many bikes throughout the city. The bike sharing system can help commuters expand their personal sustainability practices while giving Hamilton a sustainable nudge.

Bike shares are continuing to prove themselves as a reliable new form of public transit. This growth in public transit can bridge the gaps in Hamilton’s transit system and encourage citizens to choose sustainable transportation, often serving as a compliment rather than a substitute for existing public transit. For instance, the first/last miles of a commute are often considered too far to walk and, as a result, commuters choose to drive to their destination. SoBi offers users the opportunity to cycle to surrounding transit while removing the barriers that may exist in purchasing a bicycle. As a result, the reliance on personal motor vehicles can transition into an investment in more sustainable forms of transit. 

By providing the resources for a more active lifestyle, SoBi can help facilitate a healthy, environmentally conscious way of living for all Hamiltonians. Environmentally speaking, reducing the amount of motor vehicles on our streets can greatly improve local air quality. The increase in commuters cycling to their destination coincides with a decrease in emissions. By choosing active transportation and reducing individual carbon footprints, commuters can feel as though they are contributing to a greener city.

The introduction of the new bike share has become a catalyst for cycling advocacy more broadly in the city. Putting more bikes on the streets can motivate others to choose active transportation in their commute. In addition to advocacy for more bikes however, the necessary infrastructure developments needed to create a safer and inclusive system for cyclists must be considered. There are surely many gaps in the current cycling infrastructure; however, the launch of programs, like SoBi, can highlight the need for bike lanes and complete streets. Upon resolving the lack of infrastructure and overcoming the societal comfort in motor vehicles, is it possible for Hamilton to become a cycling city? We certainly think so!

Sustainable initiatives like SoBi  have the unique opportunity to create broader change in our city, transforming it into a more suitable place to live and work. At Bike to Work Day this year, it was evident that many Hamiltonians are interested in integrating cycling into their daily commute.

Crowds gather at Hamilton Bike to Work Day for a celebration of active transportation | Photo by Steve Watts

Crowds gather at Hamilton Bike to Work Day for a celebration of active transportation | Photo by Steve Watts

Seeing the many bikes heading off to work from Gore Park evoked promise for the future of cycling in Hamilton. The desire for active transportation is a testament to our changing priorities and a willingness to pursue sustainability. With programs like SoBi and a greater appreciation for cycling, Hamilton can pedal towards economic, environmental, and social change.