Melbourne Bike Share

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Melbourne Bike Share
Melbournebikeshare station Macarthur St 2010.jpg
LocaleMelbourne, Australia
Transit typeBicycle sharing system
Number of stations51
WebsiteMelbourne Bike Share
Began operation2010
Number of vehicles600

Melbourne Bike Share is a bicycle sharing system that serves the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. The stations and bicycles are owned by the government and operated in a public-private partnership with RACV. Launched in 2010, the network utilizes a system designed by Montreal-based PBSC Urban Solutions with 600 bicycles operating from 51 stations.[1] Melbourne Bike Share is one of two such systems in Australia.

Initially Melbourne Bike Share experienced low ridership. As of May 2011, users had made about 13,000 trips each month, short of the goal of 25,000 trips per month.[2] A mandatory helmet law was cited as reason.[3][4] In November 2010, the Victoria state government began offering helmet rentals at selected stations in an attempt to increase both ridership and helmet usage.[5]

The Victorian Government decided in May 2013 to trial free helmet sharing by attaching the helmets to the handlebars of a portion of the bike share fleet.

The service offers a variety of daily, weekly and annual passes as well as a pay-as-you-go option.[6]

RACV reported in their Annual Report that 170,000 rides took place between July 2015 and June 2016.


Melbourne's MBS and CityCycle in Brisbane[7] were, until the introduction of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada's bike-sharing service, some of the few schemes in the world that attempt to operate under a mandatory helmet requirement.[8][9][10]

A bicycle helmets vending machine in The University of Melbourne Parkville campus, Australia

Implementation and planning costs totalled A$5.5 million over four years, which required a usage rate of 500 trips per day, or 15,000 per month, for the scheme to break-even.[11][12] During the first week of operation, the system was only used 253 times.[13] This use rate dropped to only 136 times per day by October 2010,[11] for a total of 20,700 trips, with nearly 650 subscribers.

The low popularity of the scheme in comparison to other cities[14] has been attributed to Melbourne's mandatory helmet laws, acknowledged by the government, which recently began subsidising helmet purchases at $5 per helmet from local convenience stores and vending machines.[10][11][14] The helmet subsidy added an additional A$5 million to the cost of the bike share programme.[7] After the introduction of subsidised helmets, MBS bicycle usage rate increased to 183 trips per day.[11] This usage rate increased to 283 trips per day (8,500 trips per month) in December 2010, with another increase to 433 trips per day (13,000 per month) by May 2011.[12] Promotional efforts to advertise MBS have been limited, though mobile phone optimised websites have also been created, such as BikeShare.Tel, allowing users to locate stations and see bike availability.[15]

MELTours launched a bicycle tour based on the MBS within a month of launch as a way to enable tourists to see the city using the MBS and to learn how to use it. The tour was designed around the available MBS pods where each leg is no more than 30 minutes in duration. This means that the cost to the customer is as low as possible while a two-hour activity can still be taken.[16]


The platform behind the bike share system is created by 8D Technologies, who also supply the server technology for BIXI Montréal, Citi Bike in New York City, Santander Cycles in London, Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC, and others.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FAQ". Melbourne Bike Share. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  2. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (31 May 2011). "Bike share scheme disappointing". The Age. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  3. ^ Lucas, Clay (23 July 2010). "Helmet law makes nonsense of bike hire scheme". The Age. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Queensland helmet law". Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  5. ^ Ripplinger, Sarah (22 November 2010). "Why Bike Share is Failing in Melbourne". Momentum Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Melbourne Bike Share Costs for Bike Hire Plans". @RACV.
  7. ^ a b Moore, Tony (8 August 2011). "CityCycle won't follow Melbourne's $5 helmet lead". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Melbourne bike share not a sure thing".
  9. ^ Chris Rissel (9 August 2011). "Have helmet laws put the skids on Australia's bike share scheme?". The Conversation.
  10. ^ a b "Cyclists fined during anti-helmet protest". ABC News.
  11. ^ a b c d "Lucas, Clay, ''Helmet Law Hurting Shared Bike Scheme'', The Age, 29 November 2010". Melbourne: 29 November 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Bike share scheme disappointing". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  13. ^ "Bike share scheme saddles up slowly in bleak weather". The Age.
  14. ^ a b "Dublin Melbourne bike hire".
  15. ^ lodders. "Bike Share Melbourne".
  16. ^ "Melbourne Bike Share Tours with MELTours". Archived from the original on 25 February 2014.

External links[edit]