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Getting to grips with bike sharing

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Student Danielle Robson is looking forward to using her passion to improve the bike sharing scheme in Christchurch. PHOTO: Hanna Reynolds

A Christchurch student with a passion for cycling is doing research for the city’s inaugural public bike sharing scheme.

Danielle Robson, a geography student at University of Canterbury, will complete the research for Spark Bikes.

“I’ve always had an interest in active and public transportation and ways of reducing car dependency.”

The research will analyse who is using the scheme, identify areas of growth and consider how to integrate bikes with other forms of transport.

“The results hopefully will provide possible new station locations, insight into how bike sharing is currently operating and what could be done to improve the experience for all.”

More than 5000 trips have been made on Spark Bikes since the scheme started last August, but the two-year pilot will end in 2017.

Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust (SIFT), supports projects that have long term environmental benefits for Canterbury. It has stepped in to fund the independent evaluation that will give insight into how a public bike share system could work for Christchurch.

SIFT general manager Maria Wake said the research was a key part of developing a convenient bike sharing scheme that meshed with other forms of transport.

Rob Henderson, founder of the Spark Bikes scheme, said the results of the research would be essential for developing the local government support needed to continue the scheme.

“With SIFT’s support we are able to dive deeper into that usage and develop a plan for a city-wide bike share system that’s integrated with public transport.”

As workers move back into central Christchurch, Spark Bikes aims to encourage people to swap their cars for public transport.

The latest bike station at the Bus Interchange encourages people to transition from bus to bike.

_By Hanna Reynolds for the Christchurch Mail