In Riverside’s continuing quest to expand public transit offerings and foster a “bicycle culture,” the city plans to launch what is likely the Inland area’s first public bike sharing program. A city wide bike-share program would be a great opportunity for all Riversiders, providing one more reason why Riverside is a location of choice. Not only would this provide Riversiders with more convenient public transportation options, it would be a fun opportunity for people to stay active and enjoy the great climate and environment that Riverside has to offer. Our city is increasingly becoming the location of choice for people and organizations from all over the world.
The bike share concept isn’t new. Community bikes were used in Amsterdam as early as the 1960s. The first organized programs in the U.S. date to the 1990s, said Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center. Esri, a Redlands geographic information systems company, offers free shared bicycles as an employee perk.
Riverside’s pilot project, which could start in 2015, will likely include four bike kiosks – one near City Hall, one at the downtown Metrolink station and spots near the UC Riverside and Riverside City College campuses, said Brandi Becker, a senior administrative analyst in the city’s public works department. For most systems, pricing is set to encourage trips of a half-hour or less. Denver’s B-cycle, for example, starts at $8 for a 24-hour pass or $80 for a year, with weekly and monthly passes also offered. With all passes, trips up to 30 minutes are free; extra hourly charges apply for those who keep bikes out longer.
Many bike shares are still ironing out financial and logistical issues, but Riverside should be able to learn from others’ early mistakes, said Charlie Gandy, a bike consultant and vice president of the California Bicycle Coalition. Gandy expects a bike share to fuel even more interest in cycling, whether for work, fun or fitness. “Cities that take on this type of project see a major shift in people’s attitudes towards bicycling,” he said.
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