Bike sharing will boost city, public transportation

JAY GOFF | THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL

In six months, public transportation in Memphis will become more accessible and equitable than ever.

Explore Bike Share will begin rolling on the streets of Memphis next spring with 600 short-term rental bikes.

The new bicycle sharing system will allow residents and visitors to get from point A to B — and maybe even to point C and back — while breathing fresh air, getting some exercise, and taking in sights along the way.

This bike share system can transform the way our city functions. 

It will complement and enhance the city's award-winning biking infrastructure — bike lanes, shared-use paths, bike racks and so on.

It also will improve connections in and between underserved areas where people live and work, shop, play, and visit.

The bike sharing system will serve high-density areas and neighborhoods such as Downtown, Midtown and the Crosstown area.

Just as importantly, though, the system will serve Orange Mound and Binghamton, as well as South Memphis and Uptown.

The 60 stations will cash and credit card payment options, and coordinate some stations with public transit routes. And we've gotten a $2.2 million federal grant to add more stations and 300 bikes in 2019.

The B-Cycle bikes will be equipped with a touch-screen GPS that offers route recommendations and directions.

Blake Hilburn passes into a section of deep woods on the Tour D'Wolf bike path at Shelby Farms while competing in the MOFman mountain biking race Oct. 18, 2015, during the Memphis Outdoor Festival, a weekend of athletic events, live music, craft beer and food trucks to raise support for the trail system at the park. (Photo: Jim Weber / File / The Commercial Appeal)

Explore Bike Share will be able to track the number of rides, most popular routes and destinations, miles accumulated, calories burned, gallons of gas saved, and the demographics of bike-share members and users.

Explore Bike Share is a nonprofit organization formed about two years ago. We have been diligent and intentional in our efforts to create a bike sharing system designed by Memphians for Memphians.

Our next task is to hire an executive director with the passion and background to create and foster an equitable bike share program for the entire community.

The new executive director will have an important but challenging job — managing people and projects, operations and development, and launching and sustaining a new program that is community-minded and committed to our mission.

The application deadline is Friday. Visit explorebikeshare.com.

Bike sharing is a revolution on two wheels, and we are looking for a revolutionary. 

Jaske Goff is chief operating officer of the Downtown Memphis Commission and a board member for Explore Bike Share.