You used to have to rent a bike when traveling if you wanted to ride. But now a bike awaits you in many cities through bike share programs. These short-term bike loan programs are also popular on college campuses. And soon you may be seeing the same thing in Spokane. The Spokesman-Review reports that the city of Spokane has an $80,000 federal air quality grant, through SRTC, to study and design such a system.

I attended a meeting with a group of stakeholders last week to discuss possibilities. Among the topics; available vendors, where to base a program like this, how big to go initially and helmets- with a helmet law within the City do you provide a helmet, try one of those disposable helmets or have people bring their own?

Other parties that would be involved included Washington State Department of Transportation, Gonzaga University, the University District, Spokane Transit Authority,  local governments and others. The next step is to hire a transportation consultant experienced in bike share programs to design the system. This will be paid for by the federal grant.

The program itself will be locally funded however, through sponsors. That includes advertising sponsors and the City of Spokane will likely be a location sponsor, probably in Riverfront Park to start and possibly Kendall Yards. The program could be up and running as early as 2019 and as many as 60 bikes.

bike share programs are fairly affordable, with a 10-bike kiosk costing about $9,000. Many programs allow bikes to be used for free for the first 30 minutes or an entire day can cost a couple dollars.

While some people are concerned about what will happen with a bike share program in winter, some are more concerned that Spokane’s helmet law and law against riding on the sidewalk present bigger hurdles.

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