ST. GEORGE – A new bike share program that launched in St. George Thursday is being touted as an affordable and fun way to get around town while promoting alternative transportation and healthy physical activity.
St. George Mayor Jon Pike announced the official launch of the LiVe Well St. George Bike Share Program at the Dixie Center St. George Thursday afternoon. The launch was marked with the cutting of a bike tire tube instead of a ribbon along with a quick bike ride around the parking lot.
The program, provided though the bike share company Zagster, includes 10 bike share stations and a total of 55 bikes within 3.5 miles of each other between the black hills on the east and west side of St. George, Pike said.
Bike share stations will be located near trails, Suntran bus stops, lodging/housing complexes and commercial and institutional centers.
In addition to the Dixie Center St. George, other stations include among others Dixie State University, Dixie Regional Medical Center and Thunder Junction All Abilities Park.
“We’ll be able to provide bikes to university students, to our residents who just want to get from point A to point B quick and for visitors, tourists who would like to tie into our trail system,” Pike said during the program launch.
The program is set up through a public-private sponsorship. Intermountain Healthcare’s Dixie Regional Medical Center and SelectHealth are sponsoring five of the bike share stations with others sponsored by Dixie State University, Washington County Convention and Tourism Office, Zagster and the Brad Harr & Associates personal injury law firm.
“The city of St. George is so excited to see this public-private partnership and we express gratitude to the sponsors who are making bike share possible,” Pike said in a statement prior to the program’s official launch Thursday. “With more than 300 sunny days every year, St. George is a great place to bicycle year-round,”
Mitch Cloward, administrator of Dixie Regional Medical Center, said the goal of Intermountain Healthcare’s participation in the partnership represents a commitment to helping people live the healthiest lives possible.
“I hope these bikes help keep people out of the hospital,” Cloward said with a laugh.
The program was also seen as a “no brainer” to Richard Williams, president of Dixie State University. The bike share concept fits nicely into the school’s mantra of “active learning, active life.”
In relation to Dixie State and the bike share use, Pike announced that plans are in the works to build either a tunnel under or a bridge over Interstate 15 at 400 South for pedestrian- and cyclist-use only. The project is anticipated to start in the coming year and run around $2.5 million.
The project will help to establish a better east-west connection within the city for university students and others, Pike said.
Zagster, the company behind the bike share program, was chosen by the city to provide the service to residents and visitors based on the affordable program cost, lightweight and rider-friendly bike design, ease-of-use and system-scalability, according to a news release issued by the city.
Adam Greenstein, account manager for Zagster, said the company’s mission is to “make the bike the most loved form of transportation.”
Zagster has launched over 200 bike share programs across the country, Greenstein said, adding that they have been very successful to boot.
“A successful bike program is about creating a vibrant biking culture,” Greenstein said, “and there’s already a really avid cycling community here.”
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How the bike share program works
The bike share program is app-based, meaning individuals who rent one of the bikes will do so through the use of a smartphone.
Marc Mortensen, the city’s support service’s director and an avid cyclist, described the system in four steps:
- 1. Join.
- On any Apple or Android device, download the Zagster app and create a profile. Search the app for St. George to find station locations near you.
- 2. Choose your bike.
- At a station, enter the bike’s number into the app and tap “Start Ride.” You’ll get a unique code to open and close the lockbox.
- 3. Unlock.
- Use the key from inside the lockbox to operate the U-lock that attaches the bike to its station. Be sure to shut the lockbox before you ride.
- 4. Ride.
- Have fun! Use the U-lock to keep the bike secure if you make stops along the way. When you’re done, lock the bike back to any Zagster station and close the lockbox. Then go to the app and tap “End Ride.”
“To see the bike share launch is incredibly satisfying,” Mortensen said. “This really is a great system.”
Zagster works with the communities where it operates to keep bikes affordable in order to encourage use, Greenstein said.
For those who just to pay as they go, it’s $1 per 30 minutes of use. Annual memberships are offered at $30, with a student version offered at $15.
The city is looking to add new sponsors, Pike said, adding that he wants to see the program double in size by the end of the year.
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