Kailua gears up for bike-sharing

Hawaii Independent Staff

KAILUA—Hawaii’s first bike-sharing venture has been launched in Kailua as part of a $100,000 pilot project of the State Department of Health’s Healthy Hawaii Initiative.

On Friday, May 20, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, project leaders will formally unveil the program to the community. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn how the system works and experience riding the bikes around Kailua town. The bikes have been available at the two stations for limited use since April 28 in order to test and ensure the proper functioning of the high-tech payment, locking, and tracking systems.

Kaneohe Ranch partnered with the State to provide, at no charge, land for two bike stations in prime locations. The sites are at the Davis Building at 767 Kailua Rd. and Hahani Plaza at 515 Kailua Rd. Wisconsin-based B-cycle, LLC has subcontracted with Nguyen Le, founder of Hawaii B-cycle, to operate, maintain and expand the program on Oahu.

Le said bike-sharing programs around the world have proven successful at reducing traffic, enhancing public transit ridership and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“We hope a successful pilot program in Kailua will help bring bike sharing to communities throughout the state, and make them better, more sustainable places to live,” Le said.

Riders can subscribe online at www.HawaiiBcycle.com for a monthly ($30) or annual ($50) “B-card,” which lets them check out the bikes for free for the first 30 minutes. A one-day pass can also be purchased for $5 at the stations. After the initial half-hour, all users are charged $2.50 for every half-hour that they keep the bikes. This is intended to encourage short rides and the return of the bikes to the stations so that they can be “shared” by other users.

Once a bike has been checked out, the user will be responsible for it until they return it to either station. Each of the 12 cruiser-style bikes has multiple integrated locking mechanisms to prevent theft and tamper resistant hardware to guard against vandalism. High-tech features on each bike include radio-frequency identification and GPS to track miles ridden, calories burned, and carbon offsets. Mobi PCS, through their Hele Wireless Broadband device, is providing the mobile broadband technology to keep the stations connected to remote operating systems.

Kailua was specifically chosen because of its favorable geographic characteristics: small area, high-population density, short commute distances, and generally flat topography.

“Kailua provides a cost-efficient test case for this community initiative,” said Kimo Steinwascher, vice president of Leasing & Development of Kaneohe Ranch. “Property owners in Kailua were the first to volunteer sites for the bike stations, and Kaneohe Ranch enthusiastically supports a program that promotes bicycling and healthy initiatives.”

“Active transportation, including bike riding, is a great way to get the recommended amount of physical activity into your day. It also helps prevent chronic disease and combat obesity,” said Lola Irvin, Tobacco Settlement project manager for the Healthy Hawaii Initiative. She hopes that as people see how successful the program is in Kailua, other businesses and organizations will want to sponsor bike-sharing stations to expand the program in their community. 

Contact Hawaii B-cycle at (808) 221-6698 or [email protected] and visit www.HawaiiBcycle.com for more information on how to sponsor a station.

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