The state plans to launch a short-term bike rental program in Kailua as a step toward healthier lifestyles.
A $100,000 contract for the project was recently awarded to B-cycle by the Department of Health’s Healthy Hawaii Initiative.
Two solar-powered bike stations will be installed for the one-year pilot project, slated to begin in December.
Seven bikes initially will be located at each station, one near Boots & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen, a popular local eatery at 151 Hekili St., and the other on Uluniu Street. Officials plans to increase the number of bicycles during the length of the project.
This is the first bike-sharing program of its kind in the state, according to Heidi Hansen-Smith, community outreach coordinator of the Healthy Hawaii Initiative.
B-cycle will partner with Momentum MultiSport, a Kaimuki retail triathlon store owned by Nguyen Le, to develop the system in Hawaii. A 25-year bicyclist, Le said he has been pushing for such a project to expose more residents to cycling as a normal way of commuting.
Here are the daily usage fees for the bike sharing pilot program in Kailua. Fees are subject to change.
"If you provide the bikes, more people are willing to try it out," he said.
Each cruiser-style bike has high-technology features that include radio frequency identification and tamper-resistant hardware. Users can return the bikes to either station.
The first half-hour will be free. The user will be charged $2 for the next half-hour, and rates rise from there.
Users who can use credit cards at the stations will be charged more for additional time. The program will offer subscription rates for daily to annual use for those interested in regularly using the bicycles.
Riders not under a subscription who fail to return the bikes within 48 hours will be charged the full replacement cost of the bike, estimated at $900.
Le said the program will encourage residents to rely less on their cars as they travel around Kailua. It also will offer employees who work in offices at buildings on Uluniu Street an easier way to run errands or grab lunch.
"They get to go out of the office and enjoy the sun a little bit without having to drive their cars around," he said.
Chad Taniguchi, executive director of the Hawaii Bicycling League, said he is glad that the project was initiated.
"We hope that it’s successful," said Taniguchi, who rides his bike daily from his home in Kailua to his office in Kaimuki. "To me the more bicycles, the better."
If all goes well, the program will expand the bike-sharing project to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.