Recently, the Capital District has been making moves to provide more opportunities for bicycle use within its cities. In July 2015, the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) reached out to companies to obtain information regarding the implementation of a bike-sharing program within the cities of Albany, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs. According to the Albany Times Union, CDTC’s request for information asked for proposals for a permanent bike-sharing program with 260 bicycles available for use within the three cities.
Bike-sharing programs have started to pop up in different areas. One of the most notable examples of a bike-sharing program can be found in New York City, which has successfully implemented Citi Bike, operated by NYC Bike Share. These simple blue bikes with GPS trackers and docking stations throughout New York City started in 2013. Rates range based on frequency of use, offering 24-hour passes, one-week passes, and an annual subscription. In only a little over two years of operation, they have grown to over 330 docking stations and there have been over 19 million rides. New York is just one example where cities have implemented a bike-share program, other programs exist in Washington D.C., London, and Paris.
Submitted proposals indicate starting up a bike-sharing program could cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million, with five-year operating costs ranging from $1 million to $3.4 million. Ultimately, a Capital District bike-sharing program could be operated in a number of different ways. Utilizing a docking system similar to Washington D.C. and New York City, the bikes would be rented and returned to strategically placed docking stations throughout the cities. Another option includes designating pick-up and drop-off areas, but not necessarily setting up docking stations. These bikes would be located using GPS and fees would be applied to those who leave rented bicycles outside the designated areas.
A bicycle-sharing program within Albany fits squarely within “Albany 2030,” which indicates a significant goal to support alternative modes of transportation. As increased bicycle usage on city roadways is a natural result of implementing a bicycle-sharing program, it makes it even more essential for all users of the road to be cognizant of one another. Bicyclists in New York State are awarded the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles, but bicyclists are far more susceptible to injury in a collision with a motor vehicle. We recognize this imbalance at LaMarche Safranko Law and maintain a focused practice area of advocating for bicyclists who have been injured by a motor vehicle.