A bike rental program to promote an active lifestyle and reduce traffic will officially launch on Friday in Kailua.
Stations accept only credit cards.
Hawaii B-cycle is the first program of its kind in the state, and part of a $100,000 pilot project of the state Department of Health’s Healthy Hawaii Initiative. Although the official launch takes place Friday, dozens of riders already have used the bikes over the past couple of weeks.
Officials say the concept is to encourage people to commute on the bikes in short time periods to promote healthy living and alleviate congestion. Instead of sitting in their cars, they can hop on a bicycle.
"What we’re looking at is to increase active transportation, getting people to be active as part of their day," said Heidi Hansen-Smith, community outreach coordinator for the Healthy Hawaii Initiative. "You can run errands in a more fun and convenient way. You’re not sitting in traffic."
There are 12 cruiser-style bikes and two stations: one at the Davis Building, 767 Kailua Road, and the other at Hahani Plaza, 515 Kailua Road. Each bike is equipped with a radio- frequency identification and global positioning system to track the number of miles the user traveled and calories burned. An additional feature shows the amount of carbon emissions being prevented.
Longtime bicyclist Nguyen Le, founder of Hawaii B-cycle, will operate the program. B-cycle LLC, based in Wisconsin, subcontracted with Le to offer the program in Hawaii. Kaneohe Ranch and the state provided space for the two stations in Kailua. Data will be collected for a year to track usage of the bikes.
The program is also being launched in major cities including Denver; Portland, Ore.; and Washington D.C., according to the company’s website. Similar programs also exist in cities in Europe.
Both Le and Hansen-Smith said they hope businesses, organizations and the city will sponsor additional locations to expand the program to other parts of Oahu and the neighbor islands.
"That’s the whole objective," said Le.