The Nice Ride Minnesota bike-sharing program, based on Montreal's BIXI bike-sharing program, debuted in Minneapolis earlier this week. The system allows users to take a bike from any kiosk with the swipe of a card and return it to any kiosk by simply pushing it into a dock, which locks automatically. A subscription is required to use a bike and the first 30 minutes are free. The bikes are designed to be ridden by people wearing regular clothes and include full fenders, lights, and a cargo rack. They are perfect transportation option for short trips short trips in the city, such as across downtown for an appointment or a quick trip to the store, which in turn reduces pollution and congestion
The BIXI system is a high tech bike-sharing service. According to Nice Ride, "Advanced bike-share systems have been operating in cities like Paris and Barcelona for several years now. The engineers at BIXI learned from the successes in these cities and built a bike share system that is elegant, rugged, and simple to use. Time Magazine recognized BIXI as one of the top inventions of 2008, right behind the Mars Rover."
The bike-sharing system is a perfect fit for Minneapolis which was recently named the most bike-friendly city in the U.S. by Bicycling magazine. Making this honor even better, Minneapolis unseated Portland, Oregon, a city that held the title for many years. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a bicycling advocate, said the program will have multiple benefits, including improving users’ health, helping the environment and increasing drivers’ awareness of bicyclists on the roads.
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