Vancouver seeks expressions of interest to launch public bike share by 2012

(UPDATE APRIL 19: Thanks to Keith Ippel of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition for pointing out that the number of cities with public bike share is now well over 200 , not the 80 I reported here.)

Creation of a public bike sharing system in Vancouver took a step closer Friday with the posting of a request for expressions of interest on the city’s web site.

Since the city began exploring the issue in earnest in 2009, the number of cities with public bike share systems has roughly quadrupled to more than 80. A whole host of problems and opportunities have been identified by the first generation of bike share programs, putting Vancouver in a position to create a world class system. Yes, helmets will be part of the mix.

Vancouver’s goal is to have the system up and running in 2012. The RFEOI describes the design work already done by a non-profit organization called Bike Share BC. The system could be delivered by another supplier, by BikeShare BC or a partnership, but the goal is to minimize risk and cost to the city.

In Montreal, meanwhile, the Bixi bike system launched its third season a few days ago with lower prices, more than 5,000 bicycles and over 400 bike stations.