Los Angeles will soon have a citywide bike-share program, according to a Dec. 22 article in the Los Angeles Times. Bike Nation USA, a bike-share company, announced its plans this week to begin rolling out its bike-share program in downtown Los Angeles as early as April. So far no contract has been signed or permit, issued. But Bike Nation has pledged $16 million toward eventually installing as many as 400 bike-share kiosks with 4,000 rental bikes across the city in areas such as Westwood, Hollywood and the beachside communities, the Times reports.
Bike Nation executives say they will first start a small testing operation in downtown in April. Kiosks with about 10 bikes will be set up at various high-traffic locations including Union Station, the Caltrans building on Main Street, City Hall, the Hall of Administration and LAPD headquarters. The report states that bicyclists in Los Angeles will be able to rent bikes for $6 a day, $1.50 an hour or $4.50 for 90 minutes. Trips under 30 minutes will be free and one-year passes will cost $75. The same company, Bike Nation, has also installed a similar system in Anaheim and is making plans to start bike-share programs in Long Beach and Fullerton.
It’s about time that these bike-share programs are introduced in Los Angeles, where we have the advantage of good weather year-round. Riding a bicycle is not only a great way to save money and get healthy, but it is also an effective way to conserve the environment and reduce our dependency on oil. Bike-share programs are commonly found in many cities in Europe including Paris and London. They are quickly gaining in popularity in the United States in cities such as New York and Washington D.C.
In addition to encouraging bike-share programs, cities and counties should also hold up their end of the bargain by making our streets safer for bicyclists. As a bicycle accident attorney who represents injured victims and families of deceased victims, I’m deeply concerned about how dangerous our roadways have become for bikers. Ghost bikes, where local biking groups place a white bike to memorialize a bike accident victim, are common sights in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Encouraging bike-share programs is wonderful. At the same time bicycle safety in Los Angeles is a concern. We need the infrastructure to keep up with these programs.