As Denver B-cycle closes, advocates call for micromobility expansion to every neighborhood

Media Contacts

Expansion of bikeshare, scooters critical to hit goals around climate and air pollution, single-occupancy vehicle reduction, and vision zero

CoPIRG Foundation and the Denver Streets Partnership

After nearly a decade of operations, the Denver Streets Partnership (DSP) gathered on Thursday to say goodbye to Denver’s B-cycle program and release a vision for its replacement – micromobility options like pedal and electric-assisted bikes (e-bikes), electric scooters, and whatever other two-wheeled or one-wheeled modes develop, available in every neighborhood in Denver. In its new policy statement, the DSP, which CoPIRG is a member of, highlighted how a robust micromobility network could help Denver meet critical goals around reducing climate and air pollution, transportation-related deaths, and the number of people traveling alone in vehicles. 

“Denver’s iconic red bicycles and all the other scooters and e-bikes provide thousands of trips a day. To meet our goals for cutting traffic fatalities, for reducing climate and air pollution and for moving people without having to move cars, now is the time to think big,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director and member of the Denver Streets Partnership. “We’re looking for proposals that will create the kind of comprehensive, citywide micromobility system that can be a game-changer for how people move around Denver.” 

According to data from Denver Bike Share, Denver B-cycle provided 2.5 million trips between 2010 and 2018. Data from the City and County of Denver shows shared electric scooters provided 3.4 million trips between August 1st, 2018 and November 30th, 2019 (about 7,800 trips per day). 

In response to the rise of micromobility options over the last decade and their success in providing thousands of trips a day, mostly in downtown Denver, the City and County of Denver is expected to launch a process to request proposals for operating the next generation of micromobility services in Denver. 

Denver Streets Partnership, a coalition of organizations advocating for people friendly streets, called on any businesses, non-profits, or collaboratives that plan to bid to think big and submit proposals that expand micromobility to every neighborhood, offer a variety of connected modes like scooters and e-bikes, keep costs low or free for Denver residents, make their travel data accessible to the City, and propose a system so there are clear and enforceable zones for using and parking micromobility equipment. DSP also highlighted that Denver should use the next generation of its micromobility service network as another reason to advance bicycle, pedestrian, and safety infrastructure. Equally importantly, DSP said, is for the City to identify ways to financially support the new system. 

DSP’s policy statement emphasized how a micromobility network can benefit residents and visitors across the city, including:

  • Safety – In 2019, according to data from the Denver Police Department, all but four traffic fatalities in Denver involved at least one motor vehicle. Because motor vehicles travel faster and are significantly heavier than micromobility devices, crashes involving motor vehicles inherently increase the likelihood of serious injury and death. By expanding transportation options for Denverites, we can reduce the number of people driving to make our streets safer. 
  • Moving People, Not Just Cars19% of trips are one mile or less and 43% are less than three miles. Many of these shorter trips can easily be done via a micromobility option and help Denver reach its Mobility Action Plan goals of reducing single-occupant vehicle commuter trips from 73% to 50% by 2030.
  • Air Pollution and Climate – Zero-emission pedal bikes and electric-powered bikes and scooters produce less pollution than gasoline-powered vehicles. 
  • Affordability – Providing micromobility options can reduce the need for Denverites to own and operate their own vehicle, a significant cost for most people
  • Health – Between April 22, 2010 and December 31, 2018 Denver B-cycle riders burned more than 160 million calories on their trips and a recent report on e-bikes from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities finds many e-bike users bought an e-bike for fitness reasons.  

The City and County of Denver is expected to call for proposals to operate a micromobility program in the next few weeks.