What Is Bike Sharing?
Several cities around the United States have programs that allow people to borrow a bike for a period of time. Bike stations are set up around the city and the bikes are locked in racks. Once you pay, you can unlock your bike and take off to run an errand, enjoy a park, or commute to work or school. People can rent a bike for an hour, an afternoon, or a few days even. In some cities, phone apps make it even easier to find a station or pay for your rental.
In Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia Capital BikeShare started rolling in late 2010. The District Department of Transportation states that about 1100 bikes will be available across 114 bike stations.Â Minneapolis, Boulder and Denver, Co., and Philadelphia are some of the cities with bike sharing programs. Many cities across Europe host bike share programs as well.
One challenge with bike sharing systems can be that the bikes must be returned to a docking point. New York City is testing an idea called social bicycle (SoBi) technology. The SoBi model has a lock box attached to the bike frame. People who sign up for SoBi use a phone app to interact with the system to find available bikes and then unlock the one they want to use. A mapping program called GPS is attached to the bikeâ€™s wheel. This allows the phone app to track where the bike is located. If the bike is in use, it doesnâ€™t show in the app. Docking stations wonâ€™t be necessaryâ€”bikes can be left anywhere in the city and available for the next cyclist!
Supporters of bike sharing programs appreciate having a â€śgreenâ€ť transportation option that is convenient and even has health benefits.Â What do you think? Would you use a bike sharing program if your city or town had one?
TLX News Geography Activity
Would your city or town be a good location for a bike share program? Why or why not? Write about your reasons in your TLX News Journal.