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Bixi is Montreal’s homegrown rental bike system. Designed to serve tourists and residents with more than 5,000 bikes distributed through the city, the program is a real commitment to urban biking. Price and convenience contribute to their use and the system is well-managed to local habits—bikes are trucked around the city to ensure their even distribution after rush hour trips downtown.

Tourists can rent a bike for $5.00, residents can rent for a whole year for $78

But I think the real reason people bike in Montreal is the 502 kilometers of bike lanes and bike routes. Some are painted on the street, some run through parks, and some are separated by curbs, but all are well-respected and well-used.

concrete lane markers and no parking make this clearly a bike space

Yes, even in the winter, though not without challenges. The commitment to bike infrastrucutre has created a bike culture that reaches not only across the city, but across the country.

Riders through Montreal can connect to a countrywide bike route or just ride down the hill to work. Coffee, croissants, and air pumps are avialable all along the routes

And, Bixi is coming to Washington DC and Arlington,VA  this fall.

What are the Bixi opportunities in Montgomery County? I can easily see bike stations located at Metro stations and at park/trail points like the Capital Crescent Trail, but once you get the bike, where do you go? Does anyone really want to bike up Wisconsin Avenue in its current cross-section?

It’s one thing to map the bike routes, another to ride them. As Casey Anderson pointed out in his Rethink presentation, potential riders are afraid of car traffic, but even those who would never consider riding a bike think it’s worthwhile to invest in bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Bixi in the DC region may be a first step.

2 Responses to “Qu’est que c’est Bixi?”

  1. Bob

    I used to bike to the Silver Spring Metro Station when I worked downtown. I can’t help but think that some of our traffic calming efforts are actually making things worse for bikers.

    The new big bump-outs on Spring Street at First Avenue are an example. They narrow what was two lanes plus street parking into one lane and would have forced me well out into traffic. Surely we can find ways to calm traffic without making it more dangerous for bikers.

  2. georgek

    A more law abiding and docile ridership (car and bike) would be helpful. In Montreal you will see the bike riders obey the traffic signals (even when there is no opposing traffic) to a greater degree than autos respect signals in DC. The bike lanes are used and respected by both parties in Montreal. In DC bike lanes and traffic signals are for suckers.