Miami Beach Launches New Bike Share Program, DecoBike

Starting in mid-November, Miami Beach will join other cities around the world when the city implements a bike-share program. Basically, you'll be able to check out a bike at a kiosk for however long you need it, and ride it to any other Miami Beach kiosk to drop it off. The goal is to encourage people to use bikes as a more efficient, healthy, and green alternative to gas-guzzling cars. Think drivers will finally share the freaking road?

And how much does it cost and where are these kiosks?  Are you only allowed to rent a bike if you're wearing a bikini? We have the answers for you after the jump.  Although the hourly rates have us a bit miffed, it's the best bike-to-resident ration of any program outside of Europe.

A lot of cities all over the world -- from Europe to Asia -- already offer bicycle sharing programs as a way to reduce traffic congestion and suffocating pollution. Recently, it seems the U.S. caught on to the hype with new bike programs in Washington D.C., Chicago, and now Miami Beach. The programs vary widely. Some are run by non-profits, community groups, or public grants, while others are private enterprises. Programs have also varied in terms of their success. Even in a place as nice-sounding as Alberta, Canada, unregulated free bikes resulted in 95% of them stolen within the first year (don't worry, our program features prison-like security.)

Miami Beach's program is called DecoBike, and is a public-private partnership. If the ads are to be believed, it will mainly attract bikini-clad hotties. But it also appears that, much like everything else in Miami Beach, it's a smigde overpriced. Only vacation-budgeted tourists are likely to be willing to pay the program's hourly fees.

On the otherhand, at $15 a month, a "BEACHPASS" membership grants unlimited trips per day and the first half hour free (with additional fees for longer rides). This is pretty standard pricing compared to other privately-funded bike shares in the country.

"The typical commuter ride is less than 20 minutes and it takes just 10 minutes to get across South Beach," says DecoBike vice-president Colby Rees, explaining that most members don't end up paying more than $15 a month. The price-hike really comes into play for short-term rentals at $4 for 30 minutes and $5  an hour.

Consider that in Germany it costs $1.30 for an hour, and in China, it's free for the first hour followed by 15¢ for each additional hour. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., it costs $5 to rent a bike for an entire day.

Still, the DecoBike program is impressive simply for its scope. It's the first city-wide green transit program in the country, meaning that there'll be enough stations close enough to each other to make it a viable transportation system. For instance, from South Pointe Park to 86th Street, there will be over 1,000 bikes available at 100 solar-powered stations.

Many of the kiosks will be positioned no more than one or two blocks from each other, and bikes don't have to be picked up and dropped off at the same station. With one bike for every 88 residents, it's the best bike-to-resident ration of any program outside of Europe. This means the program has the potential to make it really easy to get around the beach quickly.

Plus, there'll be all kinds of private parties and exclusive events for "BEACHPASS" members. We don't even know what that means, but coupled with the soft-core porn bike riding images, it makes us feel super sexy about bike sharing.
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Gabriela Garcia