Nikitas, Alexandros (2015) Bike-sharing and Older People: Is it Really an Oxymoron? In: The 2015 Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference, Special Transport Geography Research Group session in The Spaces of Maintaining Mobility: Geographies of Transport and Ageing, 1st - 4th September 2015, Exeter, UK. (Submitted)

Bike-sharing is an emerging transport innovation that provides a simultaneous answer to two contemporary urban development necessities; the necessity to invest on cycling and its significant pro-environmental value and the necessity to promote a ‘culture of sharing economies’ for cities looking to craft resource-efficient futures. Older people, the age group with the highest increasing societal importance due to its unprecedented growth in population and due to its vulnerability to transport related social exclusion, should be ‘part’ of this ‘cycling revolution’ if this is to be of universal appeal. This ‘embracement’ though, could be challenging when considering that bike-sharing is not ideal for some older people, because it requires physical ‘tools’ that may exclude mobility-challenged individuals from using it. However, since older people (and especially those closer to retirement) have better health and remain mobile for much longer than ever before, adopting such behaviour is not entirely out of the question. Nevertheless, there is a second layer of ‘support’ other than that of the ‘actual use’. This is the ‘acceptance’ of a bike-sharing scheme, that although may not be useful to the individual per se, it could be viewed as a measure worthwhile for the city. Although bike-sharing is not as costly as other road transport infrastructure investments, it still has a substantial start-up and maintenance cost and takes up valuable road space from other modes, so its acceptance from non-users could be, after all, vital for its political viability. This work aims to report on the relationship between older people and bike-sharing, as framed herein, based on the results of two questionnaire studies that looked into bike-sharing acceptance and usage. These primary results will be complemented by an extensive review of the relevant literature.

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