Bike sharing: what it is and cities

Bike sharing represents one of the biggest trends in recent years. Even in Italy more and more people are using the service, thanks to the growing attention to sustainable mobility. In fact, the bicycle is the ecological means of transport par excellence: it allows you to move around the city and its surroundings without emitting gases that are harmful to the environment.

Not to mention the economic savings: there is no need to refuel in order to move. In short, bike sharing has all the credentials to become your favorite service; all you have to do is find out if it is available in your city and which companies offer it. If you live in a metropolis like Rome or Milan, it will not be difficult to find your bike sharing. If you live in a small town? Well, even in that case you might be pleasantly surprised. In fact, there are more than 140 Italian municipalities where bike sharing is present. Here is what it is and where you can find it.

What is bike sharing

The expression bike sharing in Italian can be translated as shared bicycle. It is a service provided by public administrations to encourage the use of sustainable mobility in their territory. The bike sharing service is often managed together with specialized companies that provide the fleet of bicycles, the installations and the app to use the service.

It is very easy for citizens to use bike sharing. The vehicles can be picked up at one of the many stations in the city, which are clearly visible thanks to special signage. Alternatively, thanks to the GPS on the bikes it is possible to leave them anywhere without losing them. To use the bike you generally have to download and register to the service app.

Here you can get a map of all the bike sharing stations, pay for the use of the bike, manage the rental period and other similar activities. After signing up for the service, you pick up the bike from the station or parking lot. There are many methods: you can use a card or unlock the bike via the app. The bike can be used for any kind of journey, and you can also take it on public transport to solve the problem of the last kilometer, that is, the stretch of road between the public transport stop and the user's destination.

After using the bike, you can take it back to the starting point or to another station linked to the service. As you can see, it is a valid solution not only to get around in your city, but also when you are traveling abroad and want to make a sustainable and fun tour on two wheels. Not to mention that, depending on the case, you can also find pedal assisted bikes or install a child seat. Let's now take a look at the main Italian cities where bike sharing is present.

Bike sharing Rome

If you want to use a shared bike in the Capital, you have a wide choice. First, you can rely on Jump bikes, Uber's bike sharing service. The company provides a large number of pedal-assisted bikes, which allow you to reach a maximum speed of 25 km/h. Through Uber's app, users can find the nearest shared bike, reserve it or unlock it through a QR code on the vehicle.

So no cards are needed and the service is truly instant. Not to mention that each vehicle has a built-in GPS that allows you to find it anywhere. Even the costs are quite advantageous: to unlock the bike costs 50 cents, while to use it you spend 20 cents per minute, thus arriving at spending 12 euros for an hour. Another bike sharing service in Rome is Helbiz. Also in this case, electric bicycles are made available to users, its use can be managed through a special application.

Bike Sharing Torino

If instead you want to move in the Piedmontese city you can rely on TObike. The service provides more than 140 bike sharing stations covering virtually all areas of the municipality. In this case, to use a shared bike, it is necessary to register on the website and obtain a personalized electronic card. This allows you to use the bike 24 hours a day without having traffic and parking problems. You can choose between different rates and subscriptions depending on the use, but the good thing is that the first half hour of use is free.

Those who want to make longer routes, can also take the bike in Turin and reach other municipalities of the circuit. Among these we find Rivoli, Druento, Alpignano and many others.

Bike sharing Milan

Those who want to get around on two wheels in Milan will have no problem finding a bike sharing service. In fact, in this city it is possible to choose between a station-based and a free-floating service. As we have mentioned, the first allows you to pick up and bring back the bike in a station, the second allows you to pick it up and park it anywhere on the Milanese territory.

One of the most used and widespread solutions is called BikeMI and allows you to use electric bikes (also with seat) and traditional ones. To activate the service you need to subscribe to the website and activate a daily, weekly or annual subscription. At that point, thanks to a personal code, it will be possible to pick up the shared bike from one of the stations and bring it back to an affiliated station. The service is active from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. and for traditional bikes the first half hour is free. Rates vary depending on the needs, for example the daily subscription of a traditional bike is 4.50€.

Other two services can be used: Mobike and Ofo, both do not provide a fee, but you pay according to actual use. Costs change based on the type of bike. For example, for OFO you pay 50 cents every 30 minutes. For Mobike you pay 0.69 euros every 20 minutes for a traditional bike and 0.99 euros for new models. To use both services you must register on the appropriate platform and have a user credit greater than zero. All three services cover the vast territory of Milan and therefore can be used according to the area or needs.

Bike sharing Bologna

In Bologna we also find Mobike. There are more than 3000 shared bicycles, many of which are pedal-assisted. It is a free-flow bike sharing service, but to make it easier for users, so-called Mobike Hubs have been created, spaces where several bikes are grouped together. All bikes can be tracked and displayed on the map in the Mobike app that can be downloaded by all users. In addition, Bologna also provides a roadside assistance service that allows you to ask for help in case of breakdown or vandalism.

Bike Sharing Florence

We come to a perfect city to travel by bike: Florence with its narrow streets and bike areas is really suggestive to travel on two wheels. Also in the Tuscan capital we find Mobike. The shared bikes are sown in strategic points of the city, and their location favors the use of intermobility bike/bus or streetcar.

The bikes are easy to find: first of all they do not need fixed locations but are available in different areas of the municipality, also thanks to the map in the application you can locate them in space. No card is needed to use them. Also in this case the application does everything: the bike has a QR code that can be read by bringing your smartphone close to the bike. Thus, the bike is unlocked and you can use it at will. When you run out, just park the bike anywhere in the city and lock the lock. The app will record the stop and, thanks to the sensor inside the lock, will do the rest.

Bike Sharing Palermo

The bike sharing in Palermo is a real success story. We're talking about BiciPA, the service managed by Amat S.p.A., the public transportation company of the City of Palermo. In fact, the difference with many other cities is that this type of bike sharing is public and not entrusted to private companies, and it also manages car sharing.

It has three types of fees, an annual fee of 25 euros, a weekly fee of 8 euros and a daily fee of 5 euros. The first half hour of use is free, then it costs 50 cents every 30 minutes, with discounts if you use the bike for more hours. The service is economical compared to private ones, but does not offer pedal-assisted bikes and the models are quite dated. Finally, bikes are picked up and taken to stations.