On June 5th, the Phoenix City Council awarded a contract to CycleHop, LLC, to manage the city’s new bike share program that is expected to be rolled out by December 2013. This announcement comes shortly after New York City implemented its own bike sharing program, known as Citi Bike. New York has spread 6,000 bikes across the city, available to the general public for rent. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan have invested heavily in cycling, installing over 350 miles of new bike lanes throughout the island.
Intended to supplement existing transit systems, New York City and Phoenix have designed bike share systems that will give residents a wider variety of options to get around their city, to and from work, and facilitate the community of cyclists growing across the nation. “The bike culture is growing in Phoenix, and the City of Phoenix must play a role in ensuring that our roads are safe and accessible for the cycling community. Residents want choices when it comes to how they get around. The continued development of our light rail system in combination with improving Phoenix’s bike infrastructure will provide sustainable options” said Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos.
Across the country, biking is emerging as a safe, cheap, and reliable means of transportation. In New York, there are now a total of over 700 miles of bike lanes, cycling accidents and fatalities are down 75% since 2000, and memberships will cost as little as ten dollars. In many cities with similar programs, membership is high and rapidly expanding. Bikes are typically rented for a flat rate, with charges often beginning after a certain time elapses, typically capping at $25 per day.
In addition to Phoenix’s planned project, there are 9 other major cities with bike sharing programs, including Washington DC, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Denver. When New York rolled out its program, Mayor Bloomberg noted that over half of all trips in the city were less than two miles. Giving people an alternative to taxis or personal cars will reduce traffic, reduce wear and tear on the roads themselves, and create jobs associated with the program.