WASHINGTON – You’ve seen them in Alexandria, Arlington and D.C.; now Montgomery County has them: 51 bikeshare stations will open in the county. A total of 450 bikes will be available when the bikeshare installations are completed.
Today the first station was opened in Rockville at a special ribbon-cutting. Maryland State Transportation Secretary Jim Smith said Montgomery County’s adoption of the bikes puts the county in front of many suburban communities. “Young people are getting away from their cars,” Smith continued, “they want to use bikes not just for recreation and exercise, they want to use bikes to get to where they want to go.”
Maryland Del. Sam Arora said the bikeshare program is part of a global trend. He pointed out how different cities adopted nicknames for the bike systems, names associated with the mayors of London and New York. “When this model started in London it really took hold, they called it ‘Boris bikes’. It’s taking hold now in New York they’re calling them ‘Mike bikes.’ I wonder how long it is until they start calling them ‘Ike bikes.'”
What did Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett think about having a bike system that would bear his name? “I can live with that,” Leggett said. But aside from bright red bikes in a system with a catchy nickname, Leggett says he wants residents to see the bikes as another way the county is adapting to the transportation needs and wants of its residents. Along with providing options for young people who have increasingly put off buying cars Leggett says it’s going to benefit drivers who will experience less traffic congestion on the roads and highways. “It is here to stay and we’re going to continue to build on it.”
Here’s a map showing where the bikes are going to be installed.