The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has created a new “BikeMatchMoCo” program that is a free service enabling people with extra, unused bicycles to donate them directly to individuals who need a bike. In the program’s first week, the expressed need for bikes has been overwhelming and the program is seeking additional donations.
BikeMatchMoCo is particularly timely because of the way the COVID-19 health crisis has changed daily routines and travel needs for many people. That includes some who typically rely on public transit, but are currently looking for other modes of transportation. As Montgomery County moves to advanced phases of reopening, the need for low-cost and flexible transportation has become pressing.
In its first week of existence, the program generated nearly 100 requests from people needing bikes. Two matches and transactions have been completed. The program is seeking more donated bicycles to meet the need.
“I am proud of the continued ingenuity of MCDOT employees in identifying new ways to support County residents and employee transportation needs during the response to the COVID-19 health crisis,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We ask all County residents to consider whether a bike they have, but do not use, could go to support an essential worker. With nearly 100 requests for bikes received within the first week of the program, the need is clear.”
For some who do not own a bicycle, the most suitable method of transportation at this time — for essential and non-essential needs — would be a bike. Demand for lower cost bikes has surged across the country during the health crisis, and many options to purchase affordable bikes now involve waits of weeks-to-months.
Through its online site, BikeMatchMoCo offers opportunities for donors and those needing a bike to fill in a simple registration form. The information is reviewed by MCDOT staff to match bikes available for donation with new owners. The request/donation form is available at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-dir/commuter/bikeshare/bikematch.html
Those who do not have internet access may arrange for paper copies of registration forms to be mailed to them by calling 240-777-8380.
The matching service is free for Montgomery County residents or those who are employed in the County. Donations are intended to be permanent transactions.
Potential donated bikes must be in safe working order and cleaned to a proper precautionary sanitary condition. Information on cleaning standards, and on bike shops available to perform repairs if needed, is available at the BikeMatchMoCo website.
Persons offering and receiving bikes will be expected to participate in an outdoor, no-contact exchange in a public place, observing physical distancing guidelines. Staff from the BikeMatchMoCo program generally will not be present at the exchanges.
BikeMatchMoCo suggests exchanges take place at one of the County Police-designated Exchange Zones. If either party has a fever, cough or has been exposed to someone with these symptoms, they are asked to self-quarantine and refrain from participating at this time.
For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow and @mococommuter on Twitter or go to the department website at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot/