Sadly, Seattle’s Bike Sharing Program is Coming to an End

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In an era where our White House actively spurns efforts towards making our planet a more sustainable place to live, any small victory for the environment is appreciated. That’s what makes the recent news of Seattle’s Pronto! bike program shutting down all the more disheartening.  

This may come as a surprise to many, considering Seattle’s predilection for liberal attitudes and even being listed as the United States’ 5th best city for cycling in a recent comprehensive article by Bicycling Magazine. So what caused the Pronto! program’s demise? According to a new analytical article by City Lab, it came down to 4 factors: low ridership, delayed expansion, lack of funding, and politics.  

In terms of causes of deterred ridership, the article cites Seattle’s hilly terrain, cold weather and, perhaps most significant of all, the city’s helmet law, which may have contributed to a lack of interest in casual riders.

The program’s immediate lack of expansion across the city creates obvious problems in terms of ease of accessibility. Finally, low funding and a lack of political push or excitement are what ultimately sealed the deal for Seattle’s bike sharing.

It’s unfortunate that the push for more casual biking in Seattle didn’t pan out as planned, but good intentions don’t always equal success, even in a city as open-minded as Seattle. Here’s to hoping the gears are turning at full capacity for the city’s next iteration.

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