The report, by the University of Salford with British Cycling, has also provided insights into how a future scheme could operate.
Researchers from the University looked into people’s attitudes to bike share schemes and studied 2,270 responses to an online survey from people who lived in, worked in, or visited Greater Manchester, while the city’s Mobike scheme was operating.
Bike-sharing company Mobike launched in Manchester and Salford in 2017 but withdrew in September 2018, citing problems with vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
Researcher Dr Graeme Sherriff said: “The survey reveals that there is a place for bike share in Greater Manchester, but it has to be done well. A lot of people wanted to cycle more, and bike share is an attractive way to start -you don’t have to invest in a cycle or find somewhere to store one – but the quality of the bikes and the operational area is all important.
“If the quality isn’t right, bike share can intensify some of the barriers that already deter people from cycling, adding to the sense of vulnerability they feel cycling on the road.
“Anyone planning a bike share scheme needs to think carefully about issues such as how the design of bikes can make it a good option for everyone, how it fits in with other public transport services, how they can be provided at strategic points like major employers, and how there can be a mix of docked and dockless bikes.”
Many people also told researchers they were not confident cycling on the area’s roads, with some who had tried Mobike saying they found the bikes difficult to ride. They described the heavy single-geared bikes as difficult to ride at the speed they would have liked, and this added to a sense of vulnerability while in traffic.
The report, launched at the University of Salford on Thursday October 18, also revealed that changes to the pricing structure and operational area confused some users and stopped others from making their normal journeys. People saw potential for them to use bike share in combination with public transport, but felt this required better coordination at public transport interchanges across the city.
Allison Coles, British Cycling’s Research, Insight and Projects Manager, said:“Our own insight consistently reports that easy access to bikes is vitally important if we are to make cycling the natural choice for short journeys and help make cities like Manchester greener, healthier and happier places to live and work.
“Public bike schemes are a vital part of the public transport network and need investment in the same way as buses and trams do. Public bike schemes dramatically raise the profile of short trip cycling journeys in a community,as demonstrated in London over the last decade, and can be an important catalyst for improving public and political support for wider investment in cycling infrastructure.”