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Time to Pedal! Birmingham City Councilors Set to Vote on Bikeshare System Funding

Health and fitness will always be an important topic when addressing thriving communities in the United States. The City of Birmingham is not short on engaging residents on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With monthly Health Smart classes addressing the danger zones of high blood pressure, and diet friendly programs that target warning zones of diabetes, not to mention boot camps and zumba classes in neighborhood gyms, Birmingham officials consistently prove that health is no matter to take lightly and urge residents to stay active.

Birmingham is slated to begin its new Bikeshare System before the close of this fall, debuting as the first in North America to feature electric-assisted bikes. Kicking off in the heart of the city’s bustling downtown, Bikeshare will be set with 40 docking stations and 400 bikes, 100 of which will be equipped with battery-powered pedal assistance.

Earlier this year, Councilors joined with Mayor Bell and took their mission a step further by approving an ordinance that authorized the Mayor to execute a Franchise Agreement granting the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham the non-exclusive right to install the Bikeshare System. The system will consist of community friendly biking stations that ease the city commute and contribute to environmental sustainability.

During the next City Council meeting which will take place Tuesday, October 6th, councilors will vote on a 20% match for the Bike Share Program, as a recommendation from this week’s Budget and Finance Committee Meeting. This funding will cover some of the capital and installation costs. The overall funding is made available through the Federal Highway (FHWA-CMAQ) Funding.

As Councilor Sheila Tyson prepares to the launch the second edition of her yearly salute to good health with “Shake it Off with Sheila,” she is hopeful that the Bikeshare system will attract more residents to join her fitness journey and reap the overall rewards of an active lifestyle.

“We are very excited about the premier of the Bikeshare System in Birmingham,” said Councilor Tyson. “Citizens need options to fitness so that they are not limited by their disabilities. The bikes, especially the electric assisted models, may be just what is needed to help them overcome their physical ailment.”

The pedal-assisted electric bikes are designed with a powered motor that kicks in automatically when the user pedals making it possible to ride up hills using the same effort it takes to ride on a flat road. A total of 340 recharging docks will be located throughout downtown Birmingham. This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.