By the end of the summer, Denver city officials plan on implementing the largest bicycle-sharing program in America with 500 bikes and 30 to 40 pick up and drop off stations. The program received one million dollars in initial funding, and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District is donating $50,000 for the installation of 75 to 100 bike racks throughout the city.
Nate Kvamme from the Louisville, Kentucky, Health Insurance firm Humana organized the original bike share. Kvamme will set up the Denver program that will first hold 30 bikes for city workers. Eventually he will add 470 bikes and will extend the program to the Denver community. Mayor John Hickenlooper believes that Denver is the ideal location for the program as the city has 358 miles of bike paths and trails and 300 days of sunshine a year.
Open to both Colorado citizens and tourists, bikers can pick a payment plan that meets their transportation and financial needs. Bikers can calculate their carbon footprint in addition to tracking burned calories.
Kvamme and Humana Inc. originally ran the bike share during the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention last year as a part of the Bikes Belong program. Convention attendees had access to 1,000 bikes that came with maps of the city, locks and helmets, all of which were complimentary.
Similar programs have already launched in various European and U.S. cities, for example, Paris, France, has 20,000 rental bikes. Washington, D.C., has 120 bikes; however, the city limits use to in-state residents only. Bicycle-sharing programs are growing in popularity across America, and Minneapolis is already planning a bike share for this year.
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