SmartBike DC

columnview.jpg According to press reports over the weekend, Washington DC is launching the first bike share program in the US. It works like Zipcar with an annual fee, stations, and 120 bikes. The SmartBikeDC bikes are three-speed, upright “comfort” bikes. They feature mudguards to prevent the rider from getting wet, chain guards to keep clothes from getting caught, front and rear lights that turn on in the dark and easily adjustable seats.

More reports


I have used a similar thing in Amsterdam while on holiday and it was absolutely fantastic.  What made it work well there was the very large number of locations and bikes - plus the roads are pancake flat :-)

120 doesn’t sound like very many but guess you have to start somewhere.

It’s the same company as the European programs and interestingly, it’s Clear Channel Outdoor. It’s for ad revenue and great in that sense, if they can make money on it.

“There’s a lot of stress on our transit systems currently,” said Jim Sebastian, who manages bicycle and pedestrian programs for Washington’s Transportation Department. Offering another option, [he] said, “will help us reduce congestion and pollution,” (NYTimes article)

I’ve never understood the theory that putting a lot of occasional riders on unfamiliar bikes in traffic (be it road or sidewalk) is going to reduce congestion.  I’m Bike-positive, but skeptical.

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