The executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition predicts a bicycle-rental system planned to start in Atlanta next year will transform the city.

“The face of biking is changing in America,” Rebecca Serna, head of the nonprofit organization, told members of the Buckhead Business Association during their meeting March 13, “and it’s changing in Atlanta, too.”

Atlanta Bike Share, similar to a system in place in cities such as Washington, D.C., New York and London, is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015, Serna said. The system, operated by private firms CycleHop and Social Bicycles, will install about 500 rental bikes in stations in Buckhead and Midtown and other locations inside the BeltLine, she said.

Serna said riders will pay for bike use by swiping a card or inputting a number. Each bike will have an individual payment box containing a GPS tracking system and a solar panel to keep it charged.

“You can check in and out on the bike and not at a hub station, so you can lock it up anywhere,” Serna said. “Like if you want to go to Kroger, you can lock it to a regular bike rack, go in, come out and unlock it all while you have it checked out.”

Scott Allman, a BBA member, was concerned about the many hills of Atlanta and how that may affect novice bike riders.

“Is it really feasible to ride bikes all over the city with Atlanta’s topography?” Allman said. “If you go down, you’re going to have to go up at some point.”

Serna said the good thing about the system is it’s not tied into one model of bicycle. There is the potential for incorporating electronically assisted e-bikes, which she said she has been riding while six months pregnant.

“But we are prioritizing flat streets,” Serna said.

–Kayla Robins

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