Prince George’s County officials launched its Capital Bikeshare operation Friday at the Wayne K. Curry Administration Building in Largo.
The $50,000 station with 15 bicycles will function as one of five in the county to serve as another mode of travel for residents.
“We have a strategic plan that coordinates efforts to make our roads safer,” said Darrell Mobley, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation. “We are making real progress, but it’s only the beginning.”
The estimated $1.6 million endeavor will put bicycles at four other locations — Largo Town Center Metro station; near Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville; Mt. Rainier Town Hall; and Baltimore Avenue and Van Buren Street in Riverdale Park.
Mobley said more than 30 stations are slated to open later this year in the county along the Route 1 corridor in the northern part of the county and National Harbor along the Virginia border.
The county plans to open additional stations next year at $1.5 million in the northern part of Prince George’s in places such as College Park and Greenbelt, he said.
Riders can pay $2 to rent the distinctive red bicycle for 30 minutes and park it at other Capital Bikeshare stations in the District, Montgomery County and the city of Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax counties in northern Virginia.
In April, the state Department of Transportation announced the state experienced a 7 percent increase with 557 people who died in vehicle crashes. About 532 died last year.
To encourage fun and decrease the number of vehicles on the road, Capital Bikeshare offers annual memberships with discounts for Washington Nationals games, Smoothie King and other perks at https://www.capitalbikeshare.com/.
“We’re glad this is coming to the county to enhance cycling in the community,” said Ray Ferguson, president of Beech Tree Pedalers, a local biking group in Upper Marlboro. “If you are a deliberate rider, then the motorists will know how ride with cyclists on the road.”
Capital Bikeshare provides safety tips for riders such as:
• Never ride against traffic.
• Use hand signals to inform drivers, pedestrian and other cyclists of movement.
• Ride in a straight line and at least three feet from parked cars.
• Follow all traffic signs and lights.
Prince George’s became the sixth jurisdiction to join Capital Bikeshare, which has more than 500 stations and 4,300 bicycles in the region. Officials in Falls Church, Virginia, are currently working on plans to become the seventh.
Each jurisdiction uses local revenue to cover operating costs and receives grants to help with capital expenditures.
The county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation provides a quick guide for riders to use a white headlight and red rear light on bikes. Cyclists are also advised to follow the ABCs — check “air” in the tires, “brakes” and “chain, crank and cassette.”
“We have had this artificial boundary established with Capital Bikeshare,” said County Council Chairwoman Dannielle Glaros. “People haven’t been able to connect to us. Today, that changes. We are truly a connected region.”
For more information, go to https://www.capitalbikeshare.com.