August 19, 2013
On August 29, the Bay Area Bike Share pilot program will go live in five cities in California including San Francisco, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Jose and Mountain View. The program will include more than 700 bicycles that are strategically located at 70 stations in the city. This is believed to be the first regional bike share system of its kind, and will be managed by a special partnership that includes a number of government and city agencies.
According to the San Francisco Mayor, this is an attempt to establish a world-class bike share program in the city of San Francisco, just as currently exists in several cities across the world and the United States. The Bay Area Bike Share program will provide San Francisco residents easy access to a bicycle when they want it. This is a huge step forward in promoting bicycling as a means of safe and effective transportation of the city of San Francisco. Biking is not just a safe and convenient method of transportation, but also an affordable and healthy way to get around.
However, San Francisco must keep in mind, the lessons that need to be learned from the bike share program experiences of other cities around the country. The most prominent of these that comes to mind is the New York bike share program, which has been very successful, and has helped promote a strong bicycle culture in the city. However, the promotion of the of bike share program in New York City, has not coincided with the promotion of the wearing of bicycle helmets.
San Francisco’s bike share program must focus on encouraging bicyclist safety, including the wearing of helmets.
For now, bicyclists who want to use a bike from the bicycle share program can simply check if one is available on their smartphones.