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Slow Traffic Making for a Hellish Commute? Try Bike Sharing!

The “bikeshare bonanza,” as Forbes put it, is something all communities should get behind. Our 25-city survey conducted earlier this year revealed that most urban residents would prefer to walk, use public transport, or ride a bike, than have to drive day in, day out. Survey respondents nationwide also made it clear that they feel all of these desirable means of transport are in need of improvement.

As U.S. traffic jams continue to worsen, commuting by bike is increasingly appealing. Since transportation engineers stopped resisting the concept, safe and efficient design of bike lanes has made great strides. Washington, D.C., was the first major U.S. city to roll out an official bike-sharing program. Capital Bikeshare launched in August 2008 as “SmartBike DC,” which offered 120 bikes at 10 docking stations in Downtown D.C. The program now serves six jurisdictions of the metro area and incorporates 4,300 bikes and 500 stations in Washington, D.C., Arlington, Va., Alexandria, Va., Montgomery County, Md., Prince George’s County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va.

Soon after, bike sharing systems were also launched in Boston, New York, Chicago, and many other municipalities. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the number of publicly available bike sharing systems in 2016 had reached 55 and offered some 42,000 bikes. Between 2010 and 2016, equipment and services were largely provided by major companies like BCycle and Motivate.

BCycle started out as a joint venture between major U.S. manufacturer Trek Bicycle Corp., health insurance company Humana, and advertising agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. First launched in 2010 in Denver, Co., BCycle now supplies and operates bike-sharing nationwide, with a stated mission to “partner with campuses, corporations, and municipalities of all sizes to implement and maintain bike share systems that complement and improve existing transportation infrastructure.” The table below includes just a few of their locations. For a full list, visit the BCycle website.

Chicago is one of the U.S.’ top 40 most sustainably-powered cities. Officials have been supporting green energy and transport as part of the city’s efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such efforts have resulted in 100 miles of better bike lanes, and Divvy, the bike sharing program, was recently expanded to 5,800 bikes, and more than 580 stations.

Meanwhile, New York City has created 98 miles of protected bike lanes over the past decade, and prides itself on being home to the largest bike share program in the nation launched in May 2013 with 6,000 bikes, and currently incorporates over 12,000, operated by Motivate in NYC and Jersey City, N.J.

Motivate also operates Boston’s Bluebikes share system, which initially launched as “Hubway” in 2011, and boasts 600 bicycles and 60 stations. Today, the system has expanded to include Cambridge, Brookline, and Sommerville, and incorporates over 1,800 bikes at over 200 stations that remain in use throughout the year.

From the START Bike system in Jackson, WY, to Pittsburgh bike share Healthy Ride, to Biki in Honolulu, this simple, efficient, and affordable transit option is making millions of Americans’ daily lives significantly more convenient. Check out the list below and try a bike share membership available near you!

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