AROUND THE BEND

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Should FXBG Have A Bike Sharing Program?

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Bike share programs are rapidly popping up, from the west coast to the east coast. There are hundreds of cities with the program. A bicycle-sharing system, public bicycle system, or bike-share scheme, as it is sometimes referred to as is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis for a set price. These programs are found to improve the overall feel of a city and involve more people. Citizens of heavily populated areas such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, Boulder, Colorado, and Broward County, Florida have recently introduced this system in their communities. The benefits of a city having such programs are endless including more citizens exercising and the reduction of pollution. Alexandria has already introduced a biking system but major cities around us that I believe should adopt this method of public transit are Richmond and Fredericksburg.
There are many benefits to bike sharing; two of these examples are for the environment and for the community. Bike share programs provide a more flexible way to travel by having many points of pick up and drop off, along with reduced emissions. Health benefits and financial savings are two things that people who bike share, experience. Being able to use the bike on an “as needed” basis allows people to avoid the costs of ownership. In Chicago, the first year of membership is only $5, and then moves to $5 a month after that initial year. Many major city officials that use bike share say that the program improves the overall morale of the citizens and helps bring up the involvement levels within the community.
The benefits of the sharing programs outweigh the risks by many. The risks mostly involve theft and accidents. City’s liability claims might not allow it to install one because of the car and bike accidents or pedestrian and bike accidents that are more frequent due to more riders.
Overall, bringing a bike share program to Fredericksburg, Richmond, and D.C. would be beneficial to both the community and to the environment. Many people who previously could not afford transportation would now be able to. Those who could afford it before would possibly make the more environmentally conscious choice and improve their city one ride at a time. With sharing being done through the bike programs, maybe citizen involvement would be on the incline as well. With the addition of a bike share program, tourism would flourish bringing financial benefits to the city along with recuperating the money spent on installing the bike hubs. Hopefully, those who look to improve their cities socially, enviormentally, and economically will choose to ride on.

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