Bike-sharing can not only get people out of gas-guzzling, greenhouse-gas emitting modes of transportation, but it can now be a prescribed treatment to help fight obesity. This week, Boston physicians at the Boston Medical Center announced a program called “Prescribe-a-Bike” that allows doctors to give cheap memberships to the city’s bike-share system.
“There is no other program like this in the country,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “Prescribe-a-Bike makes the link between health and transportation, and ensures that more residents can access the Hubway bike-share system.”
The cost of the Hubway bike-sharing program, which is $85 per year, is seen as a deterrent to low-income people. Now low-income people who are prescribed the bike-sharing treatment will only have to $5 per year. These patients will have access to 1,100 bikes and all 130 Hubway stations, along with a free helmet. According to the Boston Globe, officials expect the program to result in over 1,000 new Hubway memberships. Nonetheless, only 14% of Hubway stations are in low-income neighborhoods. If the Prescribe-a-Bike program is a success, there will hopefully be expansion of stations and bicycles into these neighborhoods.