Raleigh moves forward with bike sharing program

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh is leading the way when it comes to getting around town with a new bike share program.

The City Council approved the measure Tuesday.

“Navigating through downtown is a lot easier by bike, it’s a lot faster by bike,” said Jared Harber, part-owner of Oak City Cycling Project in downtown Raleigh.

Harber is excited to see a bike share program because it will bring more awareness to those already riding on the road.

“I think it’s good that the city is recognizing that cycling is a viable form of transportation,” he said.

City leaders have been considering a bike share program for several years, but finally decided to move forward after securing a $2 million federal grant to get the program up and running.

“It’s all part of a big comprehensive picture of a better multi-modal transportation system,” said Karen Rindge, Exec. Dir. of Wake Up Wake County.

A bike share program is on Raleigh’s to-do list for the 2030 comprehensive plan. It’s the second city in the state to do so, behind Charlotte. Rindge says it will be an attraction for residents and visitors.

“We know we’re seeing more and more tourists, and we bike share’s is very popular in cities that attract a lot of tourists. It’s going to be good for the economy, it’s going to be good for jobs, it’s going to be good for business, and it’s also going to be really good for public health,” said Rindge.

The City will have to pay $425,000 to get 300 bikes and 30 bike locations in place.

To actually run the program every year, the City estimates it will cost more than $650,000. But with money made through rentals and help from sponsorships, they hope it will be a healthy endeavor for all.

“It’s beautiful weather, why be in a little steel box driving around when you could just be on a bike?” posed Harber.

It could take up to two years to fully implement the program but some are optimistic it could happen even sooner than that. The bike share will be free for the first 30 minutes of use, and will $4 for every half hour after that. You will also be able to buy a year membership for $80.

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