I am thrilled that the bike sharing movement has made its way to Atlanta. Being that the south is at best, a sore spot for overall health, I think this movement is an excellent step in a healthier direction. Through this initiative over five hundred bikes will be distributed around the city for shared. I have a few questions though.
- Who is paying for this?
This type of program is costly for sure and naturally my first question is… Where is this money coming from? Initially this program was sponsored by the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and the City of Decatur. In Order for these bikes to hang around, additional sponsorship will be needed which I am sure will not be hard to find. Health conscious foundations and companies would be smart to back this program and it helps to keep costs down for consumers. Not to mention, healthier employees make for a better work place! So far so good.
- Is Atlanta a bike friendly city?
I personally do not remember the last time I rode a bike. Nor do I recall seeing a lot of bike lanes in this wonderful city of ours. So while I love the idea of saturating the city with bikes… Where will these go-getters ride?? The good thing is someone else thought this too. Atlantans recently voted to add 12 bike lanes to some major streets that would help create more routes for bikers. This would make cycling safer and people more willing to use them. It would create more opportunities for bikers to get from point a to point b safe and sound. Good job Atlantans.
- Do enough people live within biking distance of work/play to utilize this resource?
According to the Bike Share Feasibility Study, in the beginning stages the bikes would be available to about 15% of the Atlanta/ Decatur area. In the specific areas that it would cover, about half of the individuals who live there live within biking distance of their jobs. I’m no expert but this seems like a pretty decent start. I would love to see the culture of our city adjust to a lifestyle that would allow for a quick bike commute to become the norm. Not just because traffic here is horrific but also for the health benefits. It’s a win win.
- Are helmets provided?
No. They aren’t. Georgia law does not require individuals over 16 to to wear a helmet. So while people wouldn’t be breaking the law it definitely raises some concerns for me. Helmets keep you from smashing your head against the pavement so despite the fact that they are dubbed “uncool” they are kind of important. Especially if you are biking on a main road. I would hate to see an increase in head injuries because of this but I don’t expect many people to wear helmets if it’s not the law. Perhaps that’s another issue for another post though.
Overall, I think this is a win for Atlanta and a win for health. The potential environmental and traffic benefits were probably enough to convince us all that this is a step in the right direction. It appears that the technology accompanying this movement will make this addition an easy, fun and convenient one. It is very much in the early stages but I am definitely looking forward to sharing bikes with you all! More information is available here.
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