The Clean Air Partnership advocates for activities that reduce emissions leading to poor air quality. Since transportation is one of the largest contributors to air pollution, new bike-sharing programs here in St. Louis provide an exciting opportunity for area residents to have a positive impact on the quality of the air we breathe.
Bikesharing is a service that provides members of the community with bikes for shared use. Essentially, users can borrow bikes for a short period of time by paying just a small fee.
Ofo and LimeBike are two bike-sharing companies that entered the St. Louis market in recent weeks. Both companies have initially provided the city with 750 bikes each, but that number is likely to grow. Members of the community can utilize the bikes for their daily work commute, to get to school, exercise or for touring around the city of St. Louis. Unlike other bike-sharing options in other cities, Ofo and LimeBike do not have fixed docking stations, which means bikes are scattered in many locations across the entire city, making them a convenient option and a great way to complete the first or last mile between a transit stop and point of origin or final destination.
Bike-sharing is a way of getting around that offers great advantages over other modes of transportation. Choosing a convenient bike trip instead of driving a personal automobile means fewer vehicles on the roads, resulting in fewer emissions to combine with heat and sunlight to create ozone pollution that leads to poor air quality. Helping to keep the air quality in healthy ranges can minimize the negative effects poor air quality has on health, as high concentrations of ground-level ozone can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches, nausea, and eye and throat irritation. Other benefits of the service include lower transportation costs, faster trips and the ability to fly past traffic jams.
To take advantage of this ecofriendly opportunity, area commuters simply need to download the app for either company. Because LimeBike and Ofo do not have fixed docking stations, all bikes are tracked using GPS. Users can locate a nearby bike through the apps. When an individual arrives at the desired bike, they use the app to scan a code on the bike which unlocks the brakes. The bike is now ready for use and customers can ride the bike to their desired stopping point. When users arrive, they simply leave the bike in a safe spot at the destination, lock the bike wheel and are charged by the company based on the amount of time the bike was in use. The bike is now ready for another user. Ofo charges $1 per hour and LimeBike charges $1 for each half-hour, making the programs quite affordable.
So next time you are headed to the grocery store for a last-minute item, want to visit a nearby friend or need to get across town for an appointment, consider picking up a bike from LimeBike or Ofo instead of hopping in your car. Learn more about how to incorporate bikesharing into your routine at http://www.stlbikeshare.org/ or download the LimeBike or ofo bike share smartphone app.