Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future

While everyone seems excited about getting Federal Stimulus dollars, spending them on existing infrastructure doesn’t really stimulate much for very long. Real change means changing the infrastructure to make Dayton a more desirable place to live.

The idea of the free bike isn’t new, and it’s not out of reach. It’s working in Paris, and it’s being rolled out in small communities across the country and a few big ones. To appease the old school thinkers in Dayton- remember, the Wright Brothers were bicycle builders first.

Watch this video about the B Cycle, a big idea from Crispin Porter + Bogusky (an ad agency- with visionary leadership)

The video doesn’t get into the specifics – so I found this description from Time Magazine that explains it a bit better:

To borrow a SmartBike, users have to be over 18 and have a credit card. An annual fee of $40 lets riders tool around on a three-speed bike as often as they like for up to three hours at a time. Better be punctual: your second tardy return gets you booted from the system. The program keeps track of the bikes via tiny rfid chips, the same tamper-proof radio-frequency devices used to monitor everything from clothing inventories to office ID badges. Riders use a swipe card to unlock the bikes, and if they fail to return them–or if the bikes are stolen on their watch–they’ll be out $200. SmartBikes will soon be outfitted with independent wire locks so that cyclists can make pit stops wherever they want. No need to worry, though, about wheels getting pilfered. They’re not quick release and are too small for regular bike frames.

via Bike-Sharing Gets Smart – TIME.

The B Cycle site where the video came from, provides a really great way of seeing the impact of the B Cycle program- but, unfortunately, you can’t copy and paste the benefits elsewhere. If all of my readers would go to the site- and plug in their zip code, pick Dayton, I’m sure we’d be at the top of the list really quickly: http://bcycle.com/b_effect/

Sure, we could pave a few roads–or buy 2,000 bikes and 200 stations. Years from now, the roads will be in worse shape–but with the bikes–you’ll be in better shape. With our system of bike ways–and talk of complete streets, I think this is a better stimulus to our economy by far.

Help out- click on that last link.

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