Bike sharing program could come to Charleston

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You have plenty of options for transportation in downtown Charleston; you can hop on a rickshaw, a city bus, drive, take a horse drawn carriage, or pound the pavement. But the City of Charleston hopes to get more people on bikes with a bike share option.

Charleston’s Planning Director, Jacob Lindsey, says, “There will be a series of bike stations, which will be around the city. They just have to be returned back to their station by the end of the use period.”

It would not cost the city any money to implement and would be run by an outside company. People tell News 2 they would use it.

Mason Steele, who lives in Charleston, says, “If I needed to get somewhere on time I would totally use the bike sharing program.”

That is, if the roads were safer.

When asked what bike riding is like in downtown Charleston, Steele says, “I’ve been hit, tapped a few times.”

Lisa Harley, who is visiting Charleston, says, “I think I would use it more in the evenings than I would during the day. I think it’s a little busy during the day, the traffic.”

News 2 received similar responses across the city, people say they would use the bike sharing program if the streets of Charleston were safer. So, News 2 went to city leaders to find out what they plan to do safety-wise to make sure the program is successful.

Lindsey says, “Every single bicycle is tracked via GPS so we can know how people use the streets and that data will allow us to know how people use the streets so we can plan for bicycle infrastructure in the future.”

The city tried a free bike program in the late 1990’s, but all of those bikes were stolen. The new bike share program would have more accountability for the user.

Lindsey says, “Everyone who takes our bike share program would need to be a registered user, so it would make sure no one can steal a bike or run away with it. Everyone is registered when they pick up a bike.”

Charleston City Council unanimously passed the first reading of the bike share contract on Thursday. It will still need to go through two more readings before it is implemented. City staff hope it will be up and running by Spring 2017.

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