WASHINGTON - Just shy of its three year anniversary in the D.C. area, Capital Bikeshare celebrated a milestone on Sunday, Aug. 18: 5 million rides on the bikesharing system that now averages 10,000 rides each day.
On Aug.18, Ally Pregulman, a 25-year-old Adams Morgan resident, was biking over to a friend's house to make him dinner. At the time, she wasn't aware that she was "rider number 5 million."
Pregulman's friend recently broke his wrist. He was still in a soft cast and needed an extra hand, so Pregulman decided to step up to the plate.
"I had a big backpack of all of the supplies I was going to cook for dinner," says Pregulman, whose bag contained the necessary ingredients to make salmon patties with sautéed leeks and mushrooms. "He was supposed to come tubing with us that day and couldn't, obviously, since he broke his wrist, so that was my way of kind of making it up to him."
Pregulman is not an occasional bikeshare rider. Similar to the more than 22,000 D.C. area bikeshare members, she uses it "almost every day" as a car-free way to commute to work, visit friends and navigate the city for personal errands and social appointments.
The growing demand for more convenient methods of transportation in, and around, D.C. is fueling the demand for the bikesharing system's expansion, both in the D.C. area and around the country.
Capital Bikeshare officially launched in D.C. in September 2010, two years after the District launched its first bikesharing system. Over the past three years, it has expanded to include Arlington County and Alexandria, Va., with more than 200 stations and 1,800 bikes.
And Capital Bikeshare is not just limited to local residents. A 2012 study prepared by Virginia Tech shows 53 percent of tourists use Capital Bikeshare to get around D.C.
While the areas of Frederick, Md., and Howard County, Md., are still weighing the option of bringing the bikesharing system to their regions, Montgomery County, Md., announced this August that it will launch 51 bikeshare stations in September 2013.
D.C. has set a model for several other major cities in the U.S., who are now launching similar programs. This summer, Citi Bike launched in New York City and Divvy Bikes launched in Chicago. The bikesharing system Hubway launched in Boston in 2011.
Pregulman says Capital Bikeshare gave her and her friend a helmet and some other "Capital Bikeshare swag" as a way to celebrate the milestone with her.
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