Suffolk County is set to launch a new bike-sharing program. Read why we think that’s a good thing.
Suffolk County is hopping onto a trend that seems to be sweeping the country: bike sharing. It’s a good thing. The Zagster’s “Bethpage Ride” program will open up a whole new concept of how people will be able to get around our local towns.
Executive Steve Bellone announced last week that the county and Zagster, which is a bike manufacturer located in Cambridge, Mass., along with Bethpage Credit Union would be teaming up to bring Long Island’s first-ever bike sharing program to four communities, including Patchogue and Babylon. The two other locations are still unknown. It is expected that there will be 24 stations to accommodate 100 bikes scattered throughout the four ridesharing locations, which should be available by August. The Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce is planning to roll out a separate bike share program as well.
NYC launched their Citi Bike program in 2013 and the inventory of bicycles there has since doubled from 6,000 to 12,000, which are available for 143,000 members who signed up to borrow bikes. It has been labeled a success in that it has provided an alternative means of transportation that is far better for the environment, since there’s less congestion on roadways and there are no fuel emissions being released into the atmosphere. It also provides the type of exercise that is healthy for humans. In addition, users are not dependent upon the often-unreliable schedules of mass transportation. And supposedly, the view from that vantage point is a whole lot better.
Most of the above reasons apply when considering the advantages of bike sharing in Suffolk County. However, the program could also help give a boost to our downtown businesses. It’s certainly among the most important reasons to bring it here. That’s why Sayville didn’t wait to hear which other locations were chosen, launching their own program instead.
This is something other hamlets with downtown businesses should certainly consider implementing as well. Maybe Bay Shore will be next. Who needs to worry about feeding parking meters when one can just borrow a bike?