News / USA

Bikeshare Program Makes Cycling Lifestyle Easy

TEXT SIZE - +
Muhammad Atif

Many Western countries are encouraging their citizens to ride bicycles to work in an effort to reduce traffic congestion as well as to help save the environment.   In Washington and some of its near-by suburbs, local governments are making the bicycle lifestyle easy.

This is one of the many Bikeshare locations in southeast Washington.   Renting a bike is as easy as 1.2.3. All you have to do is put in your credit card.  Once the card is accepted, select the type of membership.  The system will print your receipt and a code to unlock the bicycle. Enter that code in this digital lock, the light turns green and you are ready to roll.

Annual members get a plastic key, which goes into this electronic lock.  Returning the bicycle is also easy.  You can go to any Bikeshare location and push the bike back into the rack.

Washington's local government started this program in September 2010. Today there are 134 stations with 1,100 bicycles in the nation's capital and the neighboring city of Arlington, Virginia.

Chris Holben is the project director of Washington's Capital Bikeshare program.   The program offers a wide variety of membership options - for a single day, 3 days, one month, or a full year.  Holben says the number of annual memberships is increasing.

"We have about 20,000 annual members who can walk up take a bike out," said Holben.  "We also had about 90,000 visitors use our bikes.  Those were tourists or people here for the day".

During the last year these bicycles have been used for one million rides.   

Holben says a membership survey shows that 5 percent of those who use Bikeshare would have used cars if bikes were not available.  He says this works out to 50,000 fewer automobile trips.

In the developing world, many people regard bicycles as the ride of the poor and see a car as a symbol of status.  Holben says what he calls "national heroes" can help counter that image.

"I think one of the main things is you need some champions at either the high political level or a higher social level, who can promote cycling whether for health reasons or get people out of the car," added Holben.  "You would also need somewhere safer for them to bike so whether that's the government or the municipalities providing trails or spaces just for cyclists."

Two other Washington suburbs, Montgomery County, Maryland, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, have now approved plans to join the network, which is slated to grow to 288 stations and 2,800 bikes by the end of 2012.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid