Share your bike

Yours, mine, ours?

Yours, mine, ours?

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

When you’re a kid, sharing is hard.

It just is. The self is a murky set of boundaries. Parental authority, no matter how kindly, is absolute. A kid needs her own stuff.

No way was Auntie Ruth going to share her bicycle with her sister. Not gonna happen.

It's one of those ever-fresh and—yeah—sentimental memories: When Ruth, the oldest kid, saw that most amazing red bicycle under that green tree on that fateful Christmas morning, there was no doubt whose bike that was. And, no, you can't ride it. Get away from that bike. I’m gonna punch you.

If climate change is the ultimate failure of the ultimate parental command—“Go clean up that messy room of yours right now!”—perhaps climate change will make better children of us all.

Auntie Ruth applauds the city of Sacramento for dropping $30K and investigating a bike-sharing program, a real bike-sharing effort, as opposed to last year's Ride Your Own Way effort in Midtown, which was perhaps better termed a bike-stealing program. This recent investment by the city is money well-spent.

In Boston, the Hubway program costs users about $85 per year. Its users are given a fob key about the size of a flash drive. Users go to a dock where the bikes are kept, stick in the fob and, if a light turns green, the bike is roadworthy and yours for the taking. Unlimited 30 minute rides all year.

NPR’s Living On Earth interviewed commuters who travel into town by train and those last miles to work on a bike. The reviews were ecstatic. The security on the bikes was depicted as effective, and the program—which includes 1,000 bikes; 108 docking stations; 600,000 bike trips so far; and a $6 million start-up cost funded through federal, state and private sources—should break even in three years.

Thirty cities have adopted bike-sharing programs in the last four years, according to ThinkProgress. Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., reports that 41 percent of users reduced their driving after joining the program.

Will the program suddenly change the car-driving habits of thousands of us car-crazed capital regionnaires? Nah. We're all kids, we're all still growing up, and climate change is going to spank us and send us all to bed without dinner.

But maybe we can grow up just enough to share a bike or two.