BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- With almost every major city in the U.S. having a bikeshare network, the idea is spreading to the suburbs.
Now, you can grab a bike to go in Howard County.
If it seems like you are seeing more bikes on the road, you are.
Federal statistics show that over the past 15 years, the number of bike commuters has increased by more 100 percent.
One reason is infrastructure. Bike lanes are now well marked in cities, and now, in our region, there are miles of dedicated bike lanes.
Additionally, bike share programs are up and running in seven Maryland cities.
Howard County is number eight.
70 bikes all ready to go, with the bike network maintained by a company that hires homeless veterans.
The announcement was made by Chris Eatough, a 6-time world mountain biking champ, now the bike and pedestrian coordinator in Howard County.
"Thank you for coming. This is a very exciting day," he said.
These are not like the mountain bikes he rode to victory. They're specially designed for the urban environment.
Tough, adjustable, GPS trackable, with a useful basket in front, and 20 of them have an electric motor.
The 70 bikes will be distributed in seven locations around Columbia.
"Some of the people have tried the electric assist and they are awesome," said Howard County Executive Allen Kittleman. "I need that electric assist all the time."
Between public and private grants, most of the $750,000 cost is covered.
With most major cities in the U.S. having bike share, it's now part of being a competitive community.
"It's the amenity that many younger workers have come to expect. So, not only will it attract them, but the businesses that employ them," Kittleman said.
The cost is $2 a day, $15 a month, or $85 a year.
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