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Building Political Will For Bike Share


Successful implementation of a bike-share system requires strong political support to ensure funding, land use rights, and coordination between various city agencies.

Involving more than one political party is critical to ensuring support for bike-share over several years and multiple election cycles.

Building political will begins with educating political leaders on the benefits of bike-share. This can include presentations on and site visits to successful projects. Persuading decision-makers
to travel to other cities to actually see and use successful bike-share programs, and to speak to other implementers, builds the necessary political will to make bike-share a reality. These decision- makers become champions for the new system in their own cities.

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s strong support for the city’s bike-share system earned that system the nickname “Boris Bikes.” His determination to increase the use of bikes in London by improving infrastructure and setting bike-share as a top priority created the context for a successful and innovative system in one of the world’s most famous cities. While the London system is overseen by the city’s transport department, Transport for London, and operated by Serco under a six-year contract, the support of the mayor’s office was the key to the system’s success. Johnson personally promoted the bike-share system to residents of the boroughs, whose support and cooperation was necessary to the success of the project (Mulholland 2008).

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