Portland has been the #1 large city for bicycling (in the United States) for a long time, considerate and supportive of bicycle commuting. The city shows that planning and consideration make a difference, and the city has even gone without any bicyclist deaths from accidents for several years. The latest news from Portland (other than this) is that Nike is sponsoring a new bikeshare there.
As noted by Bikocity founder Zach Shahan, who enjoyed truly premier bicycle culture while studying in Groningen, “We, in the States, have a lot of room for improvement… even to get halfway to Groningen’s bicycle commute rate.”
Portland is one of our cities that earnestly tries to make it to this level. Why did Portland become such a bike friendly city? The 4 main reasons why are:
- Some groups in the city successfully (the early ’60s) stood up against unwanted highway construction. Portland was one of those cities that stood up enough that the city was “noteworthy for taking federal funds that had been meant for highways and appropriating them for other things, like transit.”
- Thus, Portland’s city structure made it easier for cyclists to gain political power.
- Like Groningen and Copenhagen, cities where people live outdoors on bicycles, Portland has politicians who are also bikers.
- And… Portlanders go to meetings — that is how they make the difference as leaders and doers.
Portland does earnestly keep moving forward with bicycling initiatives. The latest has Nike jumping in to sponsor a new bikeshare. Nike has signed on to sponsor Portland’s future program, which it’s calling Biketown. According to Oregonlive.com, Nike will fund “$10 million over five years in exchange for the right to put its Swoosh logo and signature orange color on the bicycles.” With brightly social orange bicycles that will be crisscrossing the central city, the bikeshare begins this summer in July. Portlanders will also see the kiosks, racks, and promotional materials.
The program, approved last year, is also now moving from 600 to 1,000 bicycles. The coverage area — previously from Goose Hollow to inner North Portland, east to the Lloyd District, and south to South Waterfront — will also expand. “Part of our commitment to Portland has been to encourage people to move more by incorporating physical activity into their everyday lives,” said Jorge Casimiro, Nike’s vice president of global community impact. “So to all of us at Nike, the city’s bikeshare program is the perfect way of doing so.”
Oregonlive.com goes on: “More than one-third of its operating costs are expected to be covered by contributions from its naming sponsor and other smaller sponsors.” The Portland City Council this past September moved forward with the bikeshare program. A fleet will find a home in the city thanks to Social Bicycles, Inc., or SoBi, of New York. The program will be operated by Motivate Co., also of New York.
The bike-share program approved by the Portland City Council in September calls for a fleet supplied by Social Bicycles, Inc., or SoBi, of New York. The program will be operated by Motivate Co., also of New York. Renting a bike for 30 minutes will cost about $2.50, which the city said would be the lowest fee in the country. Users can also buy a $10 to $15 a month membership, good for up to 90 minutes of bike time a day.
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Images: BikePortland.org via flickr (Creative Commons license), Nike Biketown image via Oregonlive.com