Air-sparing bike sharing coming in August

We’ve gotten a lot of good things from Canada: Maple syrup, forestry products, a slew of famous comedians.

Now, our northern neighbors are gearing up to give us another gift: a fleet of 700 bicycles to outfit a new bike sharing program in the Bay Area.

The bike-friendly Bay has lagged in relation to other progressive cities like Paris, London and New York City. In a move to finally get us up to par, local air quality and transit officials are set to launch a $7 million bike-sharing program in August.

Across the Bay Area, 70 docking stations will hold the 7-speed, unisex bikes made my Montreal-based Public Bike System Company. Public designed the bike-sharing systems in London, Boston and Washington, D.C.

The velo-swapping program will roll out across San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, with regional transportation and air district officials across those three counties joining forces.

San Francisco would have the largest number of bikes with 35 docking stations, while Redwood City would have 10, San Jose would have 20 and the rest would be in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

Agencies involved hope to increase the program to 1,000 bikes by next year and possibly up to 10,000 later on.  Users sign up to become members for a day or more, using their credit or debit cards to release the bike. No cost has been determined yet.

The Bay Area is a good place to feature bike sharing because many transit venues are located within minutes of where people need to get, like from a BART station to a city locale, and easily reachable by bike.

Most people who drive to work do so in more spread out areas, such as Silicon Valley, and don’t have the option to take light-rail vehicles because the stops are too far to their jobs.

Bike sharing offers what’s known as the “last mile” solution. People can get off a train, hop on a bike, ride it to another docking station and drop it off.