As bike share systems are becoming more commonplace, Ofo and LimeBike have launched the very first suburban dockless bike share systems nationwide.If you have been out and about in Silver Spring lately, you may have noticed a few brightly colored bikes on neighborhood streets and docks. The green and yellow bikes that have the LimeBike and Ofo brand names printed on the side have recently been set out for county residents to use as part of a six-month long demo trial of LimeBike’s and Ofo’s Bike Share Systems. LimeBike, Ofo, and MoBike have reached an agreement with Montgomery County which allows the three companies to run a pilot program of the nation’s first suburban dockless bike share systems. Both LimeBike and Ofo began their pilot programs this week, and MoBike will be joining the two companies at an unspecified time in the near future. LimeBike thus far has employed some 250 bikes throughout the town and plans to add several hundred more in the months ahead, as Ofo will be following suit.
Most bike share systems, such as Baltimore’s Bike System, allow users to borrow bikes parked and locked at scattered system docks and requires them to park the bikes at one of the city’s bike share system docks once they're done using them. Dockless bike share systems are more convenient in that the bikes can be parked at any location and are considered public property before and after use. Area residents can now use LimeBike’s and Ofo’s bike share systems via a smartphone app which locates available bikes, unlocks and locks the bikes, and processes the 50-cent per 30-minute ride fee via a user account. [caption id="attachment_5498" align="aligncenter" width="628"] courtesy of great deals signapore[/caption] LimeBike already operates in Washington, D.C., and other cities. Now residents and visitors of the Rock Creek Park, Forest Glen, and Woodside Forest neighborhoods and downtown Silver Spring can use Ofo and LimeBike’s bikes and system. LimeBike also allows users to pick up in Silver Spring and park in D.C. and vice versa. Baltimore’s bike share system launched last year and has faced setbacks due to bike theft. Montgomery County’s bike share systems may also face similar issues although it is less probable as Baltimore’s crime rate is much higher. Having a bike share system in place nevertheless is a great idea and will make getting around easier while also allowing area visitors to enjoy a leisurely bike ride whenever they want to. Montgomery County's website has published the dockless bike share system's area map here.