June 10, 2010
One of the largest urban bicycle-sharing programs in the United States was introduced in Minneapolis. The Nice Ride Minnesota system took shape through the Twin Cities Bike Share Project, an initiative that had been formed in 2008 by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation.
At the time of its debut, the system consisted of 700 bright green bicycles distributed among 65 kiosks. Riders could go to those kiosks and, after swiping keycards for authorized use, help themselves to the bicycles housed there for local travel.
The launch of Nice Ride began just before noon on that Thursday at the Minneapolis Central Library. After signing waivers and putting on helmets, approximately 100 people grabbed up the bicycles available and began an inaugural run along Nicollet Mall (an 11-block section of Minneapolis that is the city’s commercial and cultural center). As they pedaled along, the riders rang the bells on the left handlebars of the bicycles. The riders eventually joined others at Peavey Plaza at the south end of Nicollet Mall, where Mayor Rybak hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bicycle-sharing kiosk in front of the Downtown YWCA building there.
Within 20 days after the opening festivities for Nice Ride, more than 10,000 trips had been taken using the system’s bicycles. Nice Ride now also covers the neighboring city of St. Paul. The program currently encompasses 1,700 bicycles for rent at a total of 190 kiosks spread throughout the Twin Cities. Nice Ride has reflected the recent nationwide trend of bicycle-sharing systems in major cities. The program also illustrates the longtime tradition of bicycle use in Minneapolis, which was the only American city around the turn of the 20th century to include that mode of transportation in traffic counts.
For more information on Nice Road Minnesota, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice_Ride_Minnesota.