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Bikesharing Expanded In Montgomery Co., Despite Safety Concerns

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The iconic racks of Capital Bikeshare bikes may soon become a more common sight in certain areas of Montgomery County.
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The iconic racks of Capital Bikeshare bikes may soon become a more common sight in certain areas of Montgomery County.

A pair of bills designed to expand bikesharing programs in Montgomery County were approved by a unanimous vote of the county council.

One of the bills lets the county spend money raised by certain transportation taxes on bikesharing, while the other eases zoning restrictions to allow businesses to place bikesharing stations at their buildings.

"We do have other infrastructure issues that we need to attend to, but this is an important piece to move forward with, and other communities around us are moving aggressively in this way," says Council President Roger Berliner. "And this is an effort for us to catch up just a bit."

Most of the bikesharing stations, which will be integrated with D.C.'s popular Capital Bikeshare program, are expected be placed in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Friendship Heights, Takoma Park, and Rockville.

During the run-up to yesterday's decision, many council members said the county has a long way to go in making roads safe for bikers. The number of bike-vehicle collisions is on the rise in the county, and that's even before this new bikesharing program, which will likely add many new cyclists on county roads.

Both County and state transportation officials are studying which roads will get new signs reminding drivers that bikers have the same right to the road as they do, as well as which roads will get bike-only lanes.

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