Bike share systems are growing like wildfire, nationally and statewide. The webinars and conferences can’t seem to keep up the pace with the ever growing and expanding systems to accommodate these bike rental stations within communities. In the words of NACTO, Bike Sharing has quickly emerged as a cost‐effective and sustainable strategy to bolster public transit usage and get more Americans biking in our cities and towns. They are also a great solution for many SC communities working to improve their bikeability, transportation and recreation options, and overall quality of life.
Spartanburg, SC took the lead, when in the summer of last year they launched their B-Cycle bike share system. Touted as the first bike share in the southeast, Spartanburg B-Cycle is a program of Partners for Active Living, whose mission it is to make Spartanburg County, South Carolina a healthy, more livable community by promoting walking, bicycling and physical activity as a part of everyday life.
|Spartanburg B-Cycle. Photo by Carroll Foster, Hot Eye Photography|
It has been just near an entire year that the Spartanburg B-Cycle system has been in place, and in that time the program has grown by leaps and bounds. Below are the B-Cycle by the numbers (as of May 14, 2012):
- # trips: 2,171
- # members: 793
- # calories burned: 761,556
- Equivalent to the calorie content of: 3808 glazed donuts, 1813 chicken biscuits, and 453 large chocolate milkshakes
- Total miles ridden: 17,116.80 (about ¾ away around the world!)
Two other South Carolina communities are also embracing bike shares as ways to make their communities more bike friendly, accessible, and livable. The City of Greenville Bicycle Master Plan makes strong recommendations that the City take a leading role in developing such bike share programs: The City can provide a crucial role in seeking federal and state grants to assist in the implementation of such programs as well as permitting use of public right of ways, where appropriate, for bicycle sharing equipment. To this end, Upstate Forever was successful in being granted Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) funds in the amount of $129,653.00 to begin implementing their bike share program.
According to the Greenlink Transit Authority letter granting the JARC funds, they will be used to purchase five bikeshare stations (including installation), 23 bicycles, and fifty percent of the operational costs associated with providing this service to the community in the first year. The team leading this project anticipates the systems to be in place late summer or early fall of 2012.
Finally, the University of South Carolina is also working to implement a bike share program on their campus, to also service areas within the City of Columbia. The University is working with the City, and hopes to have a system in place by the fall of 2012.
Based upon our work with the SC Communities for Cycling program, we know that many more communities in the state are interested in implementing bike share programs of their own, so we anticipate these systems to grow. Stay tuned for another update in months to come!