Photo by bfick (Creative Commons)

Most cities are strategizing ways to cut down on urban traffic, but few cities are relying upon bicycles as the centerpiece of their transportation initiatives. Washington, D.C., however, is willing to be a trendsetter.

This month, D.C. is scheduled to launch SmartBike DC, touted as the nation’s “first self-service bike rental program.” The idea is a variation on the business model pioneered by the company ZipCar, which is a car sharing program that has been successful in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

For a $39.99 annual subscription, SmartBike DC members will be able to pick up a bike at any of the 10 docking locations around the city. When they’re done, members return the bike to the docking location. All transactions are made with the swipe of the SmartBike DC membership card. Get pedaling, D.C.!

Community Connections: Lots of Matador members are passionate about pedaling and our blogs are full of great cycling guides and resources. Check out Hal Amen’s 8 Steps for Successful Self-Supported Bicycle Tours. And for a great travel narrative about a different kind of bike, check out Nicholas Gill’s The Motorcycle Diaries: North India,” from Traverse.