While we sit here twiddling our thumbs waiting for the Manhattan and Brooklyn bike share programs to get rolling, our suburban neighbors will be cruising away. Two municipalities, one in Long Beach, Long Island and the other in Simsbury, Connecticut are working on their own bike initiatives — and they are much closer to launching than NYC. In fact, Simsbury’s is already up and running and Long Beach’s will officially launch this fall. The programs are the first municipal run bike share programs in the tri-state area. We can’t help but be jealous.
The Long Beach City Council approved a 400 bicycle bike share program with the Miami-based Decobike set to begin this fall. Decobike will set up about 30 different Kiosks throughout Long Beach, including a few near the LIRR station, all at no cost to the city. They’ve set up demonstration stations for the summer. The new program has prompted the city to develop more biking infrastructure, in response to Long Island’s abysmal bike fatality record.
Simsbury, Connecticut, named a “Bicycle Friendly Community” in 2010 by the League of American Bicyclists, has already launched their own bike share program as well. For just $10 you can rent bicycles for an entire day, including “a bell, basket, helmet, lock and trail map along with information on safety tips and cycling etiquette.” That’s a much sweeter deal than the current prices in Central Park.
The program also promotes a great biking initiative to donate bikes to the disabled. The initiative has received a huge amount of support, thanks in part to local businesses and non – profit organizations.
Although some have been critical of the recent rise in bike share programs, it’s great to see that municipalities in the tri-state area are adopting similar initiatives like NYC. But for now, we New Yorkers will have to patiently wait for our own city bike program to launch in 2012 (hopefully).