The Hubway Turns 100,000

Love bikes or hate ’em (well, which is it?), it looks like the Hubway isn’t going anywhere.

In a rate of usage that has surpassed even the most optimistic estimates, the city’s 10-week-old program turned it’s 100,000th ride over the weekend. Credit the weather for giving Hubway it’s two busiest days to date. Beautiful, wasn’t it?

Here’s the stats behind the early success, as provided by Boston’s bike czar Nicole Freedman:

Average ride: 1.13 miles
Total miles: 115,260 miles
Earth’s circumference at the equator: 24,901 miles

By residence: 48 percent from out-of-town
By gender: 32 percent female
By occupation: 11 percent are students; 80 percent work in Boston
By bike ownership: 50 percent don’t own a bike in working condition

According to Freedman, whose official title is director of the Bicycle Program, 49 percent of users join the Hubway because it provides a faster way to get around town than walking, or taking the T (especially when it’s on fire … yikes!). By transportation type, 41 percent of Hubway would otherwise have ridden public transportation, and 20 percent would have driven their cars.

Doing a quick mathematical analysis, that’s 20,000 car trips saved by the Hubway program. Even the angriest, most bike-hating drivers have to see the value in that. Of course, cyclists are still learning how to share the roads (with recent police action by Boston and Cambridge PDs serving as good reminders), but eliminating 20,000 cars from the roads gets drivers where they’re going faster, and makes more parking spaces available once they get there. That’s a simple fact.

And here’s another one: Discard the notion that cycling here is for the suicidal, stupid, or clinically insane. There have been zero major accidents involving Hubway bikes so far, zero thefts, and the most common repair is a flat tire, says Mary McLaughlin, Hubway’s general manager.

“People are definitely getting used to bikes as being a part of the city,” McLaughlin says. “There are studies that show that the greater the number of bikes out there, the safer it becomes. It has turned into a big bike culture in Boston and [drivers] are forced, by sheer numbers [of bikers], to be safer on the road.”

The Hubway will continue as is until the end of November, then go on seasonal hiatus until March.