Cambridge Hubway to operate through winter

Hubway is open for the 2013 season. PHOTO CREDIT: village14.com
Hubway is open for the 2013 season. Credit: village14.com

Cambridge Hubway announced Tuesday that it will continue running through the winter months to test the feasibility of year-round operation throughout the Boston area.

Hubway, the public bike sharing system, has always operated on a seasonal basis since it launched two-and-a-half years ago.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to pilot Hubway service year-round,” said Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “We’re committed to supporting sustainable transportation options, and we are excited to continue the program this winter season. We do ask for everyone to use care when riding under winter conditions and also request your patience and understanding as we work with whatever nature brings us in terms of weather.”

Almost all stations in Cambridge will remain operational throughout the winter, though the station at Lafayette Square/Main Street will be removed from the street for the season.

The Lechmere station will be moved to the sidewalk just east of Lechmere Station.

All station updates will be posted on the station map at thehubway.com/stations, hubwaytracker.com, and on the Spotcycle app for smartphones. Annual members may continue to use the Cambridge stations during the season at no additional cost; 24-hour, 3-day and monthly passes will be available for purchase as usual.

According to a statement released by Hubway, “Snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of the Hubway field team. The team, coordinated by Hubway’s dispatch office, is on the street from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and is stocked with equipment to keep stations clear of snow and ice.”

The regular seasonal closing of stations in Boston, Brookline and Somerville began Nov. 18.

During extreme inclement weather conditions, Hubway may temporarily close the system; public announcements will be made via social media and the Hubway website. Station alerts will also be emailed to annual and monthly Hubway members, and all riders can consult the Spotcycle app to learn whether or not bicycles are available. In the event of a system closing, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations, but will not be able to check bikes out.

Here’s how cyclists can prepare for cold-weather bicycling:

  • Wear layers, but remember that riding will warm you up. If you get hot as you ride, pull over and remove a layer, but always keep your ears and hands shielded.
  • Local bike shops offer bike-appropriate gloves and earmuffs that do not obstruct the use of your helmet.
  • Plan your route ahead of time.
  • Always plan for an alternative mode of transportation in case a blizzard hits or if you simply decide that riding is no longer comfortable for you.
  • Each rider has a different comfort level in inclement weather. If you are uncomfortable for any reason while biking, stop riding and walk your bike to the nearest docking station. If you are cold, make your way indoors to warm up.
  • Be aware that visibility is particularly limited during the winter, with fewer daylight hours, glare and foggy conditions. Hubway bikes have 24-hour lights, but it is also a good idea to wear light-colored clothing and reflective materials if possible.
  • Use extra caution under wintry conditions, as roads may not be completely cleared of snow and ice. You are always permitted to ride in the general travel lane (not only the bike lane) and should do so if the bike lane is snowy or icy.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



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