Do you want a car-free, low-hassle ride to work? Check out (literally!) the blue bikes found all over downtown, Temescal and Lake Merritt. Ford GoBike is a new bike-share program launched in Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, San Francisco and San Jose, and so far it’s getting very good results.
The membership-based service allows you to make point-to-point trips using shared bikes. Simply pick up a bike near your starting point, ride to your destination and return the bike to the closest station. It’s a great option for commuting to work or school, for errands and for short trips around the city. When you factor in searching and paying for parking, bike-commuting is an efficient, affordable and green way to travel.
As more people move to the Bay Area, our roads get more and more congested. Bike-sharing systems have been shown to reduce traffic.
In a study conducted in the metro Washington DC area, a bike-share program reduced traffic congestion by two to three percent. A one percent reduction in traffic leads to a one percent increase in vehicle miles-per-hour driven. With more people biking to work, drivers get to the office one percent faster.
Not only will an increase in bike ridership help improve traffic, it means less carbon emissions spewed into the atmosphere. It also means significant health improvements for people who choose to bike.
One study showed that cycling to work was associated with a 41 percent lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transportation. Bike commuters also had a 52 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.
It’s not that commuting two miles to work will make such dramatic health improvements. But in a country where physical activity and health have declined, any activity is good activity. And once you experience the fun and freedom of riding on two wheels, you’re more likely to ride or walk or do some other physical activity for fun.
The Ford GoBike program costs $3 per ride, $9.95 for a day pass or $14.90 per month for an annual membership.
Members who qualify for the PG&E’s CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy), Cal Fresh SNAP and other programs qualify for deep discounts, including a one-time $5 per year annual membership ($5 per month after the first year), in-person enrollment, and cash payment.
Check out a full map of the bike-share program here. And when you do take a trip through Oakland, practice safe cycling.
The odds of a crash are slim, but if you find yourself in an accident that involves significant injuries, please remember to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. During a free consultation, a lawyer can evaluate your situation and help you determine next steps.