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$16M bike-sharing program comes to Los Angeles

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012, at 10:56AM
Flickr via cyclotourist

Mayor Villaraigosa announced the new bike share program at yesterday's CicLAvia.

A new bike-sharing program aims to bring 4,000 rentable bikes to Los Angeles, stationed at 400 kiosks from Downtown to the Westside.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the new program at Sunday's CicLAvia event. He said new the $16 million share system will cost the city nothing -- it's funded entirely by Bike Nation.

"In tough economic times like these, we knew it wasn’t feasible to start a public bike share program. But we know it’s what L.A. needs," said Villaraigosa, according to the LAist. "As we’ve seen with CicLAvia and 'Carmaheaven,' Angelenos are aching for a day without a car."

Bike Nation already has this share system up-and-running in many U.S. cities, including Washington D.C. and San Francisco. According to the company, the kiosks are solar-powered and simple.

The Los Angeles Times reports that L.A.'s kiosks will built over the next 18 to 24 months in areas around Downtown, Hollywood, Playa del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach.

Here's how the system works: Riders swipe a credit card or Bike Nation key at a kiosk, borrow a bicycle and then return it to any other kiosk throughout the city.

The bikes are built with LED lighting, airless tires and no chain -- which according to Bike Nation, make their bicycles particularly safe and reliable. The rental doesn't include a helmet though, so riders must bring their own.

The first 30 minutes of every ride are free -- and the bikes are actually intended only for "short quick trips."

"Having a single bike checked out for 24-hours is NOT bike sharing," the site says.

Riding for one hour will cost $1.50; borrowing a bike for one day costs $6 -- membership fees for a year are $75.

Bike Nation strives to have a system that covers all of L.A. as well as neighboring cities, said one of the company's founders, Navin Narang, to LA Streetsblog.

“We all grew up in Southern California so we’re thrilled that we’re doing this in Los Angeles,” Narang told Streetsblog, in regards to many of the original Bike Nation staff and investors. "Los Angeles is an international city, and it’s always been a trendsetter. We’re excited to bring something that’s green and sustainable to a city that we love.”

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