Welcoming Our New Better Bike Share Partnership Writer

by Odochi Akwani, Writer and Content Manager

Meet Odochi Akwani, who joins us with a background in journalism and nonprofit communications.

The baton has been passed to share the good work being done to make shared micromobility (SMM) more equitable. Most recently, Kiran Herbert boldly shed light on issues perpetuating inequality and those working to address these inequalities in bike share systems across the country. We each have a unique perspective, but we all share a passion for equity.

I’ve utilized my fair share of bike share systems — from the hills of San Francisco to the busy streets of New York City to my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Testing out different cities’ bike share systems and transportation options as a whole is something I get giddy about while traveling. 

When I lived in Omaha, the bike share stations were (and still are) concentrated primarily in the downtown section of the city. For me, this meant biking for leisure, never out of need. I recall back in 2022 how difficult it was to make Omaha’s first protected bikeway permanent. I’m excited about the work BBSP is doing because of what it means for mid-sized cities like Omaha. More work needs to be done to both meet the needs of folks who rely on alternative modes of transportation and accommodate for growth in these cities. As Kiran emphasized in her farewell post, we all need to be fighting for better infrastructure. This is especially true in these small or mid-sized cities where getting around by car is the norm and safe biking routes are not. When we build more safe places to ride, more people will ride.

Use of shared micromobility is still recovering from a drop in ridership in 2020 due to the pandemic. We all witnessed the huge boom in e-scooter use back in 2019, but unfortunately ridership has yet to reach that peak in recent years, according to NACTO’s 2022 State of the Industry Report. The data is promising with ridership numbers on the rise, however, to sustain this momentum, there needs to be more public funding for bike share programs.

As the new Better Bike Share Partnership writer and content manager, my primary focus will be highlighting efforts to increase access to SMM including showing how SMM systems are meaningfully engaging with people who are often overlooked in decisions made about bike share design, implementation, and expansion. With my background in nonprofit communications, I’m excited to advocate for others through storytelling while promoting equity in the micromobility space.

I look forward to meeting many of you through interviews, events, conferences, and more. Got a question or a story idea? You can reach me at odochi@peopleforbikes.org.

The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation as a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and  PeopleForBikes to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or sign up for our weekly newsletter.