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October 01, 2010

Bike Sharing is Caring

This is a guest post from Rachel Butler, National Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club's Green Transportation Campaign.

Newsflash: bikes are chic, and more and more people are hopping on bicycles to get around. The urban commuter cycling trend is getting some much-deserved encouragement from cities across the US that are joining the bike share bandwagon -- last week, our nation's capital (re)joined their ranks.

Last week, Washington D.C. saw the launch of the Capital Bikeshare program, which replaces the smaller SmartBike program in D.C. to become the largest bike sharing program in the country. By the time the program is fully up and running at the end of October 2010, D.C. and metro area residents will have 1,100 bikes at their fingertips, located at 110 stations across the city and in Arlington, VA.

A handful of other cities across the country also have bike sharing programs, including Minneapolis (700 bikes at 60 stations), Denver (425 bikes at 42 stations), and Des Moines (18 bikes at 4 stations, expanding to 100 bikes by 2011). Plans are being made for a bike program launch in Miami later this year, and New York City is studying a bike share program of its own with over 30,000 bicycles.

The upswing in bicycling and bike sharing programs in cities across the U.S. is big news -- it's a sign of the public demand for a transportation system that provides convenient and affordable choices for users. With more cities and transportation departments realizing that you can’t build your way out of congestion -- we’re going to need more creative, healthy, and innovative solutions like D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare.

For a transportation system dominated by cars and addicted to oil, the advent of bike share programs in cities across the U.S. is a step in the right direction. The Sierra Club’s Green Transportation program is hard at work to create a 21st century transportation system that moves us beyond oil and provides transportation choices for all -- join the Sierra Club’s Transportation Activists to be a part of the solution.

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