Broward County Approves Bike Sharing Contract

From The SunSentinel:

With recent approval of a contract with B-Cycle, Broward County commissioners took a big step in initiating a bicycle-sharing program in the county.

The bike-sharing program is intended to reduce traffic congestion as well as reduce carbon monoxide emissions while also providing residents and tourists a cheapr way to travel.

“We’re hoping to generate interest and I think that there are a lot of people that want to ride bikes,” said Commissioner Kristin Jacobs who spearheaded the bike-sharing program. “We don’t have a system in our county that makes [bike-riding] as safe as it could be and with launching this with B-Cycle, it’s just the beginning of looking at the county-wide effort to understand where the [bicycle-friendly] gaps are in our system.”

To access the public bicycles, 20 bike stations are scheduled to be setup in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Pompano Beach. To rent a bike, users can swipe their credit card or a pre-purchased card that allows rentals daily or monthly, which can be returned at any kiosks.

Where exactly the bike stations will be located is still being studied, possibly near the beach or downtown area in Fort Lauderdale. The official launch of the program is expected in April 2011.

At the launch, 200 blue bikes will be available for use for residents 18 years and older with plans to add about 375 more bicycles over a five-year period.

“We have a long way to go, but the point is to start,” Jacobs said.

The county will purchase the bikes through a Florida Department of Transportation grant. B-Cycle will manage and operate the program, which will feature bicycles that have tracking systems. B-Cycle, which has managed similar bike-sharing programs in Denver and Chicago, will be responsible for the liability and maintenance of the bikes.

“At the end of the day, it’s about health and wellness in the most environmentally sustainable way you can come up with,” Jacobs said.

As the bike-sharing program moves forward, Jacobs said discounts for bike riders could be offered at various restaurants and retailers near the beach and downtown areas to encourage more residents to try the program.

“Anytime you can get a car off the road for a short trip, it’s better for the environment and it’s better for the people pedaling their bikes,” Jacobs said. “We’re trying to get people to use the bikes as a mode of transportation.”

The above picture is the stripped down model. Here is a picture of the ones being used in Chicago.

9 replies
  1. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    Nice concept, but I sure hope that they are NOT using the pictured bike. No fenders, no rear rack – heck no cargo space of any sort. No lights!!!! There isn’t even anywhere to attach a rear light. No bell.

    This bicycle is dangerous and profoundly unsuitable for bikeshare use.

    • bencott
      bencott says:

      fenders aren’t really necessary for on-road travel down here. they’re nice to have when it’s wet, but i get around fine without them. i agree that it should have some type of cargo carrying ability, even if it’s just a rack that people could clip their own panniers to. of course lights are necessary for low light rides, but riders could provide their own. universal lights that install easily without tools are available at any good bike shop. i think the amenities that the county opts for will ultimately show their level of commitment to a sustainable program. the simple truth: if it’s not easy, convenient and a good value, people won’t buy it. it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

      • MikeOnBike
        MikeOnBike says:

        If I’m walking around with panniers and lights, it probably means I also have my bike.

        I suspect the real model will be like the second photo.

      • Eliza
        Eliza says:

        As much as it rains here I’d say fenders are key. I failed to reinstall mine before last weekend and very much regretted it.

        The Miami Beach bikeshare program has fenders and a basket.

        Looks like it has a front light but no rear. The beach is pretty well lit so I guess it’s not a total disaster though I wouldn’t ride without a rear light.

    • MikeOnBike
      MikeOnBike says:

      It will be interesting to see how these American bike share programs are reconciled with local laws and attitudes about helmet use. I’m certain the bikes won’t come with helmets to share (eww!), and potential users aren’t going to have their own helmets with them.

      • Kevin Love
        Kevin Love says:

        No US state requires adults to wear a bicycle helmet. As a practical reality, bike share users do not use helmets. The difficulty of the logistics of supplying them with a helmet can be summed up in two words: head lice.

        Bike share programs tend to be excellent methods of growing a bicycle culture. They allow people to try riding around on proper city bikes without helmets or other unnecessary equipment. People discover “hey, this isn’t so bad!” and start cycling.


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