Bike-share firms peddle services to Philly for 2014 program launch

Bike-share programs are popping up all over the country, and Philadelphia is on board. Officials have announced the city will sponsor its own program in 2014.

Bike-sharing companies from across the nation gathered in Rittenhouse Square Tuesday to show the city what they have to offer in hopes of winning a city contract.

Nzingha Abdul-Wahid, who now drives from her home in West Philly to her job in Center City, says she would become a bike rider if a bike-share system becomes available.

“I’d rather bicycle from West Philadelphia, which is maybe a 10-15 minute car ride,” she said. “I would love to bicycle into the city just for the exercise and I love the sustainability aspect of it.”

The logistics

All the bike-share companies emphasized that their bikes are easy for new riders to use.

Bike-share programs allow members to pick up a bike at a kiosk station, ride to another station, and leave the bike for the next member to use.

Membership, which would could cost anywhere from $50 to $100 a year, would cover all potential bike repairs. Due to sanitary concerns, the bike-share vendors cannot supply helmets to riders.

Since 2010, Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C, has provided more than 4 million rides to a clientele of tourists and commuters, said Charlie Denny, a senior associate with Alta Planning and Design.

The company does have insurance for the bikes in case of accidents, but Denny said that has not been a big issue in D.C.

“We’ve had four million rides and, to date, we’ve only had 60 reported crashes,” he said.

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