FAQ

Bike Share 101

What is bike sharing, and how does it differ from traditional bike rental?

Similar to car sharing, "bicycle sharing" is a membership-based system for short-term bicycle rental. Members can check out a bicycle from a network of automated stations, ride to the station nearest their destination, and leave the bicycle safely locked for someone else to use. While traditional bike rentals are loaned out for half-day or longer, bike sharing is designed for short, quick trips. Stations connect users to transit, businesses and other destinations, often providing the "last-mile connection." To reflect system design, pricing is set to discourage trips longer than 30 minutes. Users can take an unlimited number of 30-minute trips during their membership period; however, any individual trip over 30 minutes will incur an additional fee.

Is bike share safe?

Bay Area Bike Share bikes are extremely stable and sturdy. They are routinely maintained by professional mechanics to check safety features such as always-on lights, reflectors, chain guards, and bells.

Bay Area Bike Share’s visibility and a growing volume in the number of cyclists on city streets create an opportunity to educate all users on how to safely share roadways.

Who can use bike share?

Bay Area Bike Share is available to everyone 18 years and older with a credit or debit card. The system is not just for tourists - bike share in cities all over the world are used by a wide range of people for an almost infinite variety of trips. In the Bay Area, bike share is used by commuters and tourists alike, whether they are trying to get across town at rush hour, traveling to and from BART and Caltrain stations, or meeting friends at night.

Is there a User Agreement?

Yes. All customers must sign a User Agreement to become a 24-hour, 3-day, or annual member of Bay Area Bike Share.

What are the benefits of bike sharing?

Bike sharing promotes and markets bicycles as transportation, which has numerous benefits for individuals and society. Traveling by bike is something that nearly everyone can enjoy and reap rewards from; it’s a clean, affordable, healthy and fun way to get around. Public bike sharing is appealing because it offers 24/7 self-service access to bikes for short trips without the hassle of maintenance or storage. Bike sharing complements traditional transit by expanding its reach, providing residents and visitors alike more options to travel in and around town.

What other cities have bike share? How do they compare?

Bike sharing services are currently available in over 200 cities, from London, Paris, Barcelona, to many cities within the US.

The operator of Bay Area Bike Share, Alta Bicycle Share, currently manages Citi Bike in New York City, Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. and Hubway in Boston, among others.

How can I find out about Bay Area Bike Share job opportunities?

One of the great benefits of this program is that it will create new jobs in the Bay Area. As positions become available, job descriptions will be posted on bayareabikeshare.com/jobs

Launching Bay Area Bike Share

Where are the stations?

For the most current station information, please visit our station map.

Stations are located on sidewalks or on the street near the curb. Stations are wireless, solar powered and modular so that they can be easily installed or moved if necessary.

How were the station sites chosen? Can I suggest a future station?

This system—the first of its kind in an extended metropolitan area —is being tested in five communities along the Peninsula corridor. Station locations were prioritized to complement regional transportation stations such as Caltrain, BART, and ferries. Factors considered when determining ideal locations for stations within the service areas include job and retail density, transit connections, proximity to bikeways, topography and general support of station neighbors. We invite you to suggest future locations at: http://sfbikeshare.sfmta.com.

Who’s responsible for bringing bike share to the Bay Area?

This program is brought to you by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, City and County of San Francisco, City of Redwood City, County of San Mateo, San Mateo County Transit District, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Who operates Bay Area Bike Share?

Alta Bicycle Share has been selected to operate the program. Operating costs are expected to be covered by revenues generated through user fees, sponsorships, and partnerships.

Is there a smart-phone app?

Yes. Download CycleFinder for Android and iOS for real-time system information.

Annual Memberships

How do I become an Annual Member of Bay Area Bike Share?

Annual Memberships are only available for purchase online. All Bay Area Bike Share memberships require a valid credit or debit card on file, and payment may be made with Visa, MasterCard or Discover. Members must be at least 18 years of age. Your one-year membership begins from the day you activate your key, not from the day you sign-up online. You can choose to activate your key at your convenience.

Is a security deposit taken when I become a Bay Area Bike Share member?

Annual Members are not charged a security deposit.

I've signed up online. Can I use Bay Area Bike Share immediately?

You must wait until you receive your key, typically received within 7 business days of signing up online. When you get your key in the mail, go online to activate it and you're ready to ride!

When will I receive my Bay Area Bike Share key?

You will receive your key within 7 business days of signing up online. If you have not received your key ten business days after signing up, please call to speak with a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-480-2453.

I've received my key! Now what?

Before the key can be used to unlock a bike, you must activate it by logging into your account at bayareabikeshare.com/login. Use the username and password you chose when registering for your membership. Can’t remember your password? Try “Forget Password.” Still having trouble? Call a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-480-2453.

Can I lend my Bay Area Bike Share key to someone else?

No, your Bay Area Bike Share key is not transferable. Inappropriate use or sharing of keys will result in membership termination and any overtime fees and/or potential damage charges will be settled against your credit card.

Does Bay Area Bike Share offer any discounted Annual Memberships?

Bay Area Bike Share has a corporate partnership program, allowing businesses and organizations to offer discounted annual memberships to their employees. For more information, please email .

When does my annual membership begin?

Your Annual Membership period begins when you activate your key, not when you sign up online. You can activate your key at your convenience at bayareabikeshare.com/login.

How can I view my trip history?

Trip history is available at bayareabikeshare.com/login.

Trip history is also available at any kiosk. Simply dip your membership key and select “Trip Receipts.” You may print individual receipts for payment and trip information from the last 10 trips.

24-Hour and 3-Day Memberships

I only want to ride occasionally or am in town for a short time. How do I access the system?

You may choose to purchase a 24-Hour Membership for $9 or a 3-Day Membership for $22. Short-term Memberships may only be purchased at Bay Area Bike Share stations, using the touchscreen kiosk.

As a Short-term Member, the first 30 minutes of each of your trips are included. After the first 30 minutes, you will be charged overtime fees. You can avoid overtimes fees by returning your bike to any Bay Area Bike Share station within 30 minutes of starting your trip. You may take as many trips as you wish during your membership period.

Is there a security deposit held when I become a 24-Hour or 3-Day Member?

When you purchase a 24-Hour or 3-Day Membership, a preauthorization hold of $101 per bike is placed on your card account. This is a not a permanent charge against your account. It serves as a security deposit and will be released when the hold expires, unless a bike is stolen or lost during your membership. Holds may last up to 10 days, depending on your credit card company. We recommend using a credit card and not a debit card when becoming a 24-Hour or 3-Day Member. Using a debit card may result in overdraft fees if you lack sufficient funds in your account to cover the hold.

If you have any additional questions, please call to speak with a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-480-2453.

How do I unlock a bike as a Short-term Member?

Once you have purchased a 24-Hour or 3-Day Membership, you will receive a printed Ride Code. Type this five-digit code into the key pad located on a dock with an available bike to unlock the bike and begin your trip.

Ride codes expire after 5 minutes. If you aren't able to use your ride code within 5 minutes, you must obtain another code by swiping your credit card at the kiosk and requesting a new ride code. You are not charged for requesting additional ride codes during your membership period. If you have any problems, please call to speak with a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-480-2453.

Will my unlocking code work throughout my entire 24-Hour or 3-Day Membership?

Nope. A Ride Code will only unlock a bike for a single trip. When you're ready to ride again, visit any kiosk during your membership and swipe your credit card. Our system will recognize your card and issue another ride code. No additional membership fees will be charged to your card.

Ride Codes expire after 5 minutes. If you aren't able to use your ride code within 5 minutes, you must obtain another code by swiping your credit card at the kiosk and requesting a new ride code. You are not charged for requesting additional ride codes during your membership period. If you have any problems, please call to speak with a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-480-2453.

How can I view my trip history?

Trip history is available at any kiosk. Simply swipe your credit or debit card and select “Trip Receipts.” You may print individual receipts for payment and trip information from the last 10 trips.

Rates, Billing and Fees

Are the first 30 minutes always free for Annual Members and Short-term Members?

Yes, the first 30 minutes of each trip is included in the base price of every membership. After the initial 30 minutes, it's an additional $4 for the following half hour, and another $7 for every half hour after that. Please visit our Pricing page for more overtime details.

If you would like to take a bike for an extended period of time, we recommend that you rent a bike from a local bike rental location. Please visit our Resources page for a list of bike shops and rental locations by city.

How will I be billed for my membership and overtime fees?

Annual Members will be billed membership charges immediately upon submitting their application through the Sign Up page. Overtime fees, as well as any damage or service fees incurred, will be billed within 30 days.

Annual Members may log into their account at bayareabikeshare.com/login to view billing statements, which will include all membership charges and fees.

Short-term Members will be billed membership charges at the time of purchase. Any overtime or other fees incurred will be billed within 30 days.

Why do you need to have my credit card information on file?

We need a card on file in case overtime fees are incurred (for any trips lasting longer than 30 minutes). You can easily avoid these fees by keeping your trips to 30 minutes or less. Annual Members are billed once a month for any overtime fees. We may also charge a card in the unlikely event of a lost, stolen, or damaged bicycle. Overtime fees are listed on our Pricing page.

I don’t have a credit or debit card. Can I still ride?

We are working on a number of solutions for individuals that do not have bank accounts to be able to access Bay Area Bike Share. At present, however, you are required to have a debit or credit card to use the Bay Area Bike Share system.

Can I use a commuter check?

Unfortunately, bike sharing is not recognized as a qualified transportation fringe in IRS Tax Code - 26 USC § 132 - Certain fringe benefits.

As of June 6, 2013, The Commuter Parity Act of 2013 is currently under review by a congressional committee. This bill would add bike sharing as a qualified transportation fringe.

What is the maximum overtime fee?

$150. Pricing is set to discourage trips longer than 30 minutes. If you plan on using a bicycle for an extended period of time, we encourage you to rent a bike at a local bike shop or rental business.

What is the replacement cost of a bike?

The replacement fee of a lost or stolen bike is $1200. Always end your trip at a Bay Area Bike Share docking station, and never let your bike out of sight.

Bikes and Stations

Tell me more about the bikes.

Our bikes are simple to use and comfortable to ride. They feature a step-thru frame, an adjustable seat, and seven speeds. Each bike features a bell, front and rear LED lights (activated by the front wheel), and a convenient front rack. Best of all, the internal hub gears, chain guard and fenders keep you riding clean, and looking your best.

What about the stations?

The stations are solar-powered and modular to allow for easy installation. Each station consists of a variable number of docking ports for the bikes, plus a touchscreen kiosk for the purchase of Short-term Memberships. You'll also find a map of the service area and the surrounding neighborhood that shows the locations of bike lanes, other station locations, and local bike shops where you can purchase a helmet.

Do the bikes fit everyone?

Our bicycles are designed to be used comfortably by people of a wide range of heights, simply by adjusting the seat. To adjust the seat height, open the quick release lever (a clamp on the right side of the seat post). Raise or lower the seat to a comfortable height and close the lever to lock the seat securely in place. If you have trouble moving the seat, it may be helpful to wiggle it back and forth while pushing up or down. Be sure that the lever is open before you adjust the seat.

Before you take off, make sure the seat is centered. Check the number on the side of your seat post, and remember it for your next trip!

Can I keep a bike out all day?

If your Bay Area Bike Share bike has not been returned and correctly docked at a station after 24 hours, the bike is considered stolen and a fee of up to $1,200 will be charged to your credit or debit card.

Trip history is also available at any kiosk. Simply dip your membership key and select “Trip Receipts.” You may print individual receipts for payment and trip information from the last 10 trips.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

Bay Area Bike Share strongly encourages you to wear a helmet when you ride.

Bay City Bike offers helmet rentals for $5/day at each of its 4 locations.

Want to purchase your own helmet? Visit our Resources Page to find a bike shop near you.

How do I take a bike out of a bike dock?

If you're an Annual Member, skip the kiosk, and use your Bay Area Bike Share key at the docking station of an available bike.

If you’re a Short-term Member, simply enter the 5-digit Ride Code you received at the kiosk into the key pad on a dock with an available bike.

Wait for the green light, and then remove the bike by pulling up on the seat. Adjust your seat and ride on.

Short-term Members: Remember, ride codes are valid for five minutes and only for a single trip. If you need a new code, swipe your credit card at any kiosk. You will not be charged for requesting additional ride codes during your membership period.

How do I return a bike to a bike dock?

Putting both hands on the handlebars, push the front wheel very firmly into the dock. Wait for the green light to indicate that the bike is securely docked.

If the yellow light on the bike dock stays on or if a red light appears, pull the bike out and try to re-dock it into another empty bike dock.

Remember: the bike is your responsibility until it is properly locked back into a dock.If you have any trouble re-docking the bike, please remain with the bike, and call Customer Service at 1-855-480-2453.

How do I ensure that my bike is properly docked?

After you dock your bike, wait to make sure the dock displays a green light. This indicates that your bike is properly docked. Don't see a green light or want to make sure? Grab the back of the seat and lift up to see if the bike comes back out of the dock. If you can remove the bike from the dock, please try again to dock your bike. If you are having trouble docking at any particular station, we advise you to visit any nearby station and try again.

Can I use my own lock if a station is too far?

Nope. Usage of personal locks violates the User Agreement. Always end your trip at a Bay Area Bike Share docking station, and never let your bike out of sight.

Can I take out more than one bike with my key or my credit card?

Your Annual Membership key will allow you to unlock one bike at a time. If you're with a friend who doesn't have a Bay Area Bike Share Membership, they can use a credit or debit card to purchase a 24-Hour or 3-Day Membership from any kiosk.

24-Hour and 3-Day Members may take out a maximum of two bikes with the same credit or debit card. Please note that a security deposit of $101 will be held against the credit or debit card for each membership purchased (i.e. $202 if two Memberships are purchased.)We recommend that Short-term Members use a credit card to avoid potential overdraft fees.

Can I bring my bike into another city?

All San Francisco bicycles must stay within San Francisco. However, members may use non-San Francisco Bay Area Bike Share bicycles to travel to other cities that are part of the Bay Area Bike Share network. For example, a bike checked-out in downtown Palo Alto can be docked in downtown Redwood City, but riding between cities may exceed the 30-minute time limit. We strongly encourage users to limit their trip lengths to avoid overtime fees and make bikes available to other users.

Why can’t San Francisco bikes be docked outside of the City?

San Francisco bike share bicycles may appear to be identical to bicycles located in the other Bay Area service areas; however, the San Francisco bikes have GPS built into them that is only functional with San Francisco bike share stations. Currently, GPS is not operational but it is anticipated to work soon, so please keep the San Francisco bicycles in San Francisco.

Can I bring my bike on Caltrain or BART?

Bay Area Bike Share bicycles are not intended to be brought on public transportation. The system is designed to connect users to transit, and relieve the need to bring a bike on board. Plus, the bike is 42 lbs!

Troubleshooting

What do I do if the bike isn't working properly?

If your bike is not working properly, please dock it securely at any Bay Area Bike Share station and notify us by pushing the red wrench button on the top of the dock. If you have time, you can also turn the seat backwards to notify future riders of the malfunctioning bike.

If you have trouble re-docking the bike, please try multiple other docks before calling Customer Service at 1-855-480-2453.

What do I do if there are no empty bike docks when I want to return my bike?

Bay Area Bike Share employees will be regularly circulating throughout the system to redistribute bikes and make sure there’s an appropriate balance of available bikes and docks at each station. As we learn the patterns of how the bikes are used, we’ll be able to fine-tune station sizes and redistribution schedules.

If you arrive at a full-station, you can receive a 15-minute riding extension to find a nearby station and dock your bike. To receive this extension, Annual Members must dip their key at the kiosk and select "Full Station." Short term members must swipe their credit or debit card (the same card used for membership purchase) and select "Full Station." You can check real-time bike and dock availability using the CycleFinder app or bayareabikeshare.com/stations.

What do I do if there are no bikes available at my station?

If you have a smartphone, download the CycleFinder app for Android and iOS to view real-time information on bike and dock availability.

Bay Area Bike Share employees will be regularly circulating throughout the system to redistribute bikes and make sure there’s an appropriate balance of available bikes and docks at each station. As we learn the patterns of how the bikes are used, we’ll be able to fine-tune station sizes and redistribution schedules.

My key or Ride Code isn't working. What do I do?

If you’re an annual member, first please make sure your key has been activated by logging in to your account at bayareabikeshare.com/login using the username and password you chose when signing up. If your key is indeed broken, it can be replaced. Please call 1-855-480-2453 and our staff will send you a new key. A $10 replacement fee may be charged to your credit or debit card.

If you are a Short-term Member, simply request a new ride code by re-swiping your credit or debit card at any Bay Area Bike Share station kiosk.

My key has been lost or stolen! What do I do?

Please contact us at 1-855-480-2453 as quickly as possible to deactivate your Bay Area Bike Share key and prevent fraudulent use, as well as to obtain a new key. You will be charged a replacement fee of $10. Any overtime, service, damage or stolen bike fees incurred by your key before you have reported it as stolen will be your responsibility.

My bicycle has been lost or stolen! What do I do?

Immediately notify us by calling 1-855-480-2453. You must do this right away. In addition, you must call or visit the police station in which the theft occurred within 24 hours to file a theft report. We will also ask you to complete a Bay Area Bike Share Theft Report. Your credit card may be charged for the cost of recovery or replacement of the bike ($1200). Remember: you must contact Bay Area Bike Share immediately after a bicycle has been lost or stolen.

I've lost/found something at a Bay Area Bike Share station or on a Bay Area Bike Share bike. What do I do?

To report a lost or found item, please call 1-855-480-2453. Bay Area Bike Share members are solely responsible for all personal belongings during rides/trips. Bay Area Bike Share does not maintain any responsibility for replacement of customer lost/missing items.

I've been involved in a crash with my Bay Area Bike Share bicycle. What do I do?

Call 911 immediately. You should also call the police station in which the crash took place and file a report with an officer. This will help assure all important information is documented. Within 24 hours of the incident, you must notify us of the facts of the crash by calling and speaking with a Customer Service Representative at 1-855-480-2453.

Remember, the bike remains your responsibility until it has been properly locked at a dock, or handed over to a Bay Area Bike Share representative.


For more information on the Regional Pilot Project, please visit Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

For more information on implementation in San Francisco.

For more information on implementation in San Mateo County and Redwood City.

For more information on implementation in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose.