Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Downtown OKC Rolls out Bicycle-Sharing Program

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Downtown OKC Rolls out Bicycle-Sharing Program

Article excerpt

The launch Friday of Spokies, Oklahoma City's first public bicycle-sharing program, turns a corner in central Oklahoma's transportation culture, Oklahoma Bicycle Society President Amy Petty said.

However, growing into a more bicycle-friendly city will require public education for cyclists, drivers of other vehicles and possibly even law enforcement, she said.

"Other OBS members tell me that there have been officers from time to time who might not be fully aware that cyclists are allowed to take a lane," Petty said. "If officers would understand and reinforce cyclists' need for a three-foot lane clearance, that would do wonders for all of us. ... I almost got clipped by someone's side- view mirror the other day.

"If an officer had seen that and stopped the guy to give him a ticket or a warning, word would get around that Oklahoma City is serious about supporting bicycling as a mode of transportation," she said.

The introduction of Spokies coincides with National Bike/Walk To Work Day. About 100 bicycles will be available at six unmanned kiosks in the heart of the city: Midtown near NW 10th Street and N. Walker Avenue; the southwest corner of the Cox Convention Center; the Oklahoma City National Memorial; the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark; Deep Deuce district; and at the downtown library.

The nonprofit Downtown OKC Inc. will administer the program's management and promotion on behalf of City Hall. The initial estimate for annual administration is $112,000, but that doesn't count expected revenues for the first fiscal year, officials said. The program is expected to be revenue-neutral to operate, but other funding such as sponsorship and grants will be needed for capital expansion. A range of membership options are available online at SpokiesOKC.com.

"I'm so hopeful about what this means for the city," Petty said. "We have great trails for people who don't want to get out on the street, but we need more than that. And we need to encourage people to use those alternatives. …

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