DENVER – THURSDAY, April 22, 2010 – (Courtesy Denver Bike Sharing) Denver B-cycle launched today as the nation’s first large-scale citywide bicycle sharing program. Designed to help Denver residents and visitors increase their daily activity, save money and reduce carbon emissions, Denver B-cycle offers the first U.S. public bike sharing system as an alternative to using cars for short commutes and errands.
Popularized in Europe and Asia where there are more than 50 cities with a public bike sharing system, Denver follows on the heels of two other cities in North America that have launched successful bike sharing systems in the past year – Montreal in the summer of 2009 and Mexico City in the spring of 2010.
“Coloradans embrace healthy and sustainable living, so it’s natural that the
MileHighCity is now home to the first large-scale bike sharing system in the U.S.,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Bike sharing is a viable transportation option to help improve the overall health of Americans and reduce our carbon footprint. Let’s start a two-wheel revolution. Let’s make every day Bike-to-Somewhere Day.”
The launch event kicked off this morning with Mayor Hickenlooper, special guest Jonny 5 of the Flobots and live music from DJ Cavem and the Serafin Sanchez Brass Quintet. B-cycles flooded CivicCenterPark and the City and CountyBuilding’s front steps along with hundreds of bicycle supporters. Afterward, Mayor Hickenlooper led hundreds of bicycle supporters, some on them on red B-cycle bikes and others on their own bikes, on a kick-off bicycle parade around CivicCenterPark. Denver B-cycle went live and fully operational at noon, launching with approximately 400 red Trek B-cycles at 40 B-stations throughout the City.
Bicycle advocacy group BikeDenver will have B-cycle “ambassadors” staffing each of the B-stations during peak hours today (4/22) through Saturday (4/24) to help first-time users get familiar with the automated system, promote B-cycle to passersby and answer questions anyone may have.
Kaiser Permanente stepped-up to serve as the Founding Funder of Denver B-cycle, and the organization’s three-year $450,000 community benefit sponsorship is a visible display of confidence in the long-term promise of the system. In addition, Kaiser Permanente, the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, will provide in-kind support, expertise and resources for research and evaluation, community and worksite outreach, and volunteer support for special projects.
“We’re excited that so many community partners, foundations and organizations have stepped up to help create Denver B-cycle,” said Parry Burnap, executive director of Denver Bike Sharing, the non-profit that owns and operates the Denver B-cycle system. “From the idea to the ride, Denver B-cycle has and will continue to be a community-driven effort. These partnerships are absolutely essential to the success of bike sharing in Denver.”
Denver B-cycle members can pick up a B-cycle from any of the conveniently located B-stations and drop it off at any other B-station. B-stations are currently located throughout downtown Denver, Capitol Hill, Cherry Creek and University of Denver, among other areas. By the end of the June, Denver will have approximately 500 B-cycles at 45-50 B-stations.
Users can sign up for 7-day ($20), 30-day ($30) or annual memberships ($65) online. Users can also purchase a $5 24-hour membership at the B-cycle station with his/her credit card. Discounts are available for students and seniors. Once registered in the system as a member, there is no charge for the first 30 minutes every time the member checks out a B-cycle from a station. After 30 minutes additional usage fee apply that escalate every half hour thereafter. The fee caps at $65/day.
Denver Bike Sharing receives its funds through grants, sponsorships, memberships and transaction fees.
“Kaiser Permanente supports Denver B-cycle as it promotes a healthy and active mode of transportation for Denver’s residents and guests, “ said Eric France, MD, MSPH, Chief, Prevention Services, Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “Denver B-cycle supports our non-profit mission to build healthier communities. Denver is setting an example for all U.S. cities by laying the foundation for Americans to move more and we’re proud to be part of this effort that makes the healthy choice, the easy choice.”
Along with Kaiser Permanente’s presenting sponsorship, the contributions from key community partners – Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, the Walton Family Foundation, the Anschutz Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, the University of Colorado Housing Authority, and the Gary Williams Company – helped lay a foundation for success of bike sharing in Denver. In addition to private foundation and corporate support, Denver Bike Sharing was awarded $210,000 in 2009 from the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. No city tax dollars are going to Denver Bike Sharing.
“B-cycle is proud to be involved in the first bike-sharing system in the US and it was a natural fit to launch with the city of Denver , “said Bob Burns, president of B-cycle and general counsel for Trek Bicycle Corporation. “Denver B-cycle will give residents and guests a healthy, sustainable and fun alternative to traveling by car.”
B-cycle was formed by a partnership between Humana, Trek Bicycle and Crispin Porter + Bogusky based on a shared belief that bicycles should be a vehicle for positive health and environmental change as well as an important part of a community’s transportation ecosystem.
Starting in June, the B-cycle bikes will be equipped with RFID chips and computers to track mileage, calories burned and carbon offsets. Riders can monitor their personal fitness, see their contributions to the City’s green efforts and connect with others online at http://denver.bcycle.com.
Denver B-cycle offers residents and visitors an alternative form of public transportation, which supports the City’s Greenprint Climate Action Plan, the Strategic Transportation Plan and the Living Streets Initiative. It is integrated into the larger multi-modal transportation system, including buses and the light rail. This multi-modal approach, along with over 358 miles of bike routes/trails and 300 days of sunshine, makes Denver the perfect City to launch a bike sharing system.
For more information, visit http://denver.bcycle.com.