By: Utah DEQ Communications Office
May is Bike Month, and DEQ is celebrating by showcasing stories about how people are choosing bicycles as an environmentally friendly form of transportation.
If you’ve seen folks pedaling around downtown Salt Lake City on green-colored bikes, you know that trees, flowers, and lawns aren’t the only green things that are sprouting up everywhere in the city. The city’s successful bike share program is growing, too, with over 330 bikes available at 33 downtown stations. In fact, GREENbike has grown by an incredible 411 percent since opening its first bike stations in 2013.
What’s the appeal? For starters, GREENbike offers convenience, air quality benefits, and a great way to get some exercise. No circling the block looking for a parking place. Want to indulge in a piece of cheesecake at lunch? No worries, you can work it off on the ride back. The bikes are designed for people wearing work clothes, so you can jump on a bike and head to a meeting without the hassle of changing into special biking clothes. A basket in the front of the bike can hold your briefcase, shopping finds, or takeout. You can even add a little extra bit of fun to date night with a bike tour of downtown and the Avenues. Salt Lake’s world-class bike infrastructure makes it easy to get from point A to point B with minimum hassle and maximum safety.
And if you’re eager to do your part to clean our air, you’ll be pleased to know that in 2015 GREENbike riders prevented over 570,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
GREENbike is really fast and simple. Find a bike share station, swipe your credit card at the pay station, select your bike, and off you go! Return the bike to any station and be on your way. A free B-cycle app helps you locate stations and bike availability. And stations are conveniently located near transit, so you bike to Frontrunner, TRAX, or buses. Helmets aren’t provided, but you can bring your own.
Last year, almost 30,000 people bought passes and rode over 106,000 times. GREENbike director Ben Bolte predicts that ridership will continue to increase in 2016 as more people discover the ease and convenience of hopping on a bike to get to a meeting, run errands, or make a grocery-store run. A $5 pass gives riders unlimited 30-minute trips for 24 hours, and a $75 annual pass gives riders unlimited 60-minute trips. And if you visit one of the nearly 30 cities with a B-cycle system, you can use your B-card to cycle in Denver, Savannah, or San Antonio!
So what are you waiting for? Bike Month is the perfect time to try out Salt Lake’s bike share program. For more information, go to GREENbike’s website for a station map, rates and membership fees, and safety tips. If your office is interested in getting employees out of their cars and onto a bike, check out the Office Pass Program. Office passes make it easier for employees to utilize transit, ease traffic congestion, improve health, and improve our air quality.