Tips for City Bikes: Enjoying Indego, the Bike Share Program

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In April 2015, the city launched its first bike share program, Indego. Designed for everyone, from tourists to life-long residents, the city bikes program makes it easier to get from point A to B. Follow these tips to make using the bikes a breeze!

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The concept behind bike share programs is simple. A number of bikes are stationed at docking points across a city. People can claim a bike, go for a ride, then return it to a docking point nearest their destination. Programs for sharing city bikes have caught on, and Philly recently joined the list of places that offer one, with the Indego bike share program launching in April 2015. If you want to try the program, but haven’t ridden a bike in a while, reviewing a few basic tips and pointers can help you have a fun and safe ride.

Pick the Plan That Suits You

Like many things in life, the Indego city bikes program isn’t free. How much you pay for it depends on how frequently you use it. If you don’t see yourself biking regularly, going the pay-as-you-go route makes sense. As of 2015, pay-per-use cost $4 per half hour.

There are also two membership programs, the IndegoFlex and the Indego30 plan. The Flex plan is $10 per year, and $4 per hour when you use a bike. With the Indego30 plan, you pay $15 per month and get to make an unlimited number of trips, up to one hour, for no extra charge. If you have a bike out for more than one hour, it’s an extra $4 per hour after that.

When you purchase a 30-day or Flex plan, you receive a key fob, which unlocks the bikes at the docking stations. If you don’t have a membership plan, you’ll need to use a credit card to unlock a bike.

Bring Your Own Helmet

Although the bikes are equipped with safety features, such as lights and reflectors, they don’t include one key safety device: a helmet. Although Pennsylvania law doesn’t require people over the age of 12 to wear helmets, doing so is a good idea. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of head injury while riding by 85 percent, according to Safe Kids PA. Remember to bring one along with you whenever you plan on riding one of the bikes.

Remember the Rules of the Road

There are some important road rules to remember before you hop on an Indego bike and pedal away. One is that bikes are considered legal vehicles, which means they belong on the road, not on the sidewalk. You are allowed to ride your bike in the center lane of traffic, according to Philadelphia law, but you also need to make sure you’re riding in the right direction, along with traffic, not against it. You can ride on any road, except for the highway or expressway. When you’re on a bike, you need to obey any stop signs or traffic lights you come across and yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Play It Safe

Wearing a helmet is just the first part of playing it safe while you ride. Although you might see cyclists throughout Philly weaving in and out of traffic, doing so creates a dangerous situation for both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers. The safest course is to pedal the bike in a straight line.

You also want to pay close attention to the road when biking. Put away your cell phone until you’re finished riding. It’s also against the law for cyclists to wear headphones while riding.

Indego is ideal for long-time city residents, new homebuyers, and visitors to Philly. If you’re looking for a way to improve your commute or see the city while in motion, give the bike share program a try.

Image Source: Flickr/Franklin Smith

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