Bike Sharing to Kick Off in Washington, D.C.

May 01, 2008 03:37 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The first U.S. bike-sharing program, modeled after similar programs in Europe, will begin in Washington, D.C. in May 2008, while other cities scramble to follow suit.

30-Second Summary

SmartBike D.C. launches in May 2008, and is being modeled after bike-sharing initiatives already thriving in Europe. The program will start with 10 bike stations and 120 bikes for rent, with plans to expand if it proves successful.

The small program will probably not “make a dent” in congestion or crowding just yet, reports The Washington Post. However, if expanded, Washington’s bike-sharing system could help make urban life significantly greener.

Other U.S. cities, including Portland, Oregon, have tried more relaxed bike-sharing programs that left unlocked bikes on the street, resulting in thefts.

Paris’s bike-sharing program is often cited as a model by other cities. The system, called Vélib, garnered worldwide attention when it launched in July 2007, with a fleet of over 10,000 bicycles. Currently there are over 20,000 bikes available through the program.

“For a long time cars were associated with freedom of movement and flexibility. What we want to show people is that in many ways bicycles fulfill this role much more today,” said Socialist Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, a devoted green-living advocate.

May is bike month in New York City, and other U.S. cities, including Tucson, Philadelphia and San Francisco, have high hopes for bike-sharing programs this year.

Headline Links: Washington, D.C. takes the lead

Background: The European models

Related Topics: Other cities’ bike dreams

Reference: Resources for bike fiends


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