The Skywriter

DC Area: Ditch your Smartrip and get a SmartBike

13
Aug

DC Area: Ditch your Smartrip and get a SmartBike

DC Bike Sharing Image

Are you tired of paying for gas and hard-pressed to find a decent parking space nowadays? Do you want to enjoy this unseasonably cool August weather while simultaneously reducing your green house gas emissions? Your wait is over! Today, history was made in the District of Columbia with the launching of the first public bike-sharing program in the United States.

What was once thought of as a piece of exercise equipment or a mode of transportation dominated by tight-jean wearing hipsters on fixed gears is now becoming a popular way for commuters to get around the city. In fact, the popularity of bikes on US city streets have been rapidly growing over the past few years due to increased bike lanes, escalating gas prices and a heightened awareness of global warming pollution. And the new SmartBikes provide the perfect way to quickly and inexpensively travel throughout the city.

Although similar programs have been implemented in Europe for many years and have proved successful, DC officials want to start small and grow slowly. Currently, there are 120 new SmartBikes in the DC program, which can be rented from 10 convenient locations throughout the downtown area. And for all of you out there like me who like to organize their life through lists, the map on the SmartBike website lets you check how many bikes are available at any station so that you can better plan your commute.

How to use the SmartBike System:

  1. Users must purchase a $40/year SmartBike membership card. Cards can be purchased online for riders over 18 years of age.

  2. User must swipe their card at one of 10 kiosk locations and lift the bright red bike out of docking station. Bikes can be rented between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

  3. Time to Ride! Users can use the bikes in 3-hour time slots and then must return the bike to any kiosk within the city. If you are nearing the end of your 3-hour time slot you can simply swing by a kiosk and pick up another bike. There is no limit to the number of bikes you can rent within a day. But if you are not going to be riding from kiosk to kiosk, be sure to buy a lock since they are not included in the bike rental and the user is responsible for up to $550 if the bicycle is not returned.

For more information check out the SmartBike website at: www.smartbikedc.com

P.S. These bikes should not be used for DC bike polo, but they are perfect for cruising down to watch a few games.

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