Photo courtesy of Bike Long Beach.

City Council voted yesterday to allow Bike Nation, the continent’s only bike sharing company which manufactures its own bikes, to launch in Long Beach one of the largest bike-sharing programs in the state, pushing the city further towards its self-styled goal of becoming the nation’s most bike friendly city.

Similar to other successful bike share programs already established in many European cities, Long Beach’s Bike Nation deal will place unmanned bike terminals in high-traffic areas throughout the city. Residents and visitors alike can check out a bike at any of the kiosks, ride it around the neighborhood or to another kiosk across town and check it back in at an empty slot.  

With access points spread throughout Long Beach, the Tustin company plans on implementing a full build-out of 250 kiosks that will permit people to rent 2,500 chainless, GPS-equipped bikes beginning in February of next year. Entirely funded through a $12 million investment by Bike Nation itself, the first location is slated to be Downtown.

“The City of Long Beach has long been considered a leader in investment in bike infrastructure, creating safer roads for its riders and cleaner air for its residents,” said Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer, in a statement released to the press. “Bike Nation is proud to provide Long Beach residents and visitors alike with a low-cost, healthy time-friendly transportation option that will be connective to the City of Los Angeles and Anaheim systems.”

The program’s growing popularity is due to not only its promotion of health but its ease-of-access for simple traveling reasons, such as getting to stores or getting to work.

Following registration with Bike Nation, users can access any of the solar powered kiosks, with the main point being to use the bike and quickly return it—hence bike sharing. To incentivize users, the first 30 minutes are always free when a 24-hour membership is purchased for $6, with small decreases in costs with more day purchases: three-day ($12), weekly ($25), monthly ($35), yearly ($75) and yearly student/senior rentals ($50).

“This state-of-the-art Bike Share program will serve local residents, businesses and visitors,” Mayor Bob Foster said in a press release. “Bicycling is helping to promote business growth as well as a healthy, active lifestyle. And this new partnership will continue to move us forward to becoming the most bicycle friendly city in the nation.”

Following the initial installation Downtown, the kiosks will slowly expand into other neighborhoods.