Bike Sharing Starts in the USA

Bicycle sharing has been around in most of the world for quite some time, now it is hitting the land of the automobile. The program is going to start in Washington DC. The symbolism here cannot be ignored.

A new public-private venture called SmartBike DC will make 120 bicycles available at 10 spots in central locations in the city. The automated program, which district officials say is the first of its kind in the nation, will operate in a similar fashion to car-sharing programs like Zipcar.

The district has teamed up with an advertiser, Clear Channel Outdoor, to put the bikes on the streets.

“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, Mr. Sebastian said, “will help us reduce congestion and pollution,” as well as parking problems.