There is no doubt Pittsburgh is becoming a bike-friendly city. And with the Pittsburgh Bicycle Share program starting in May, more of us believe that it’s another way that Pittsburgh is continually becoming more modern, according to a recent Cycling in Pittsburgh poll by CAMPOS, Inc.

Conducted among an online panel of over 700 Southwestern Pa. residents, called the VOICE of the Region, the poll shows that 60 percent believe the program is an example of good civic leadership – and that number is higher, 79 percent, among those who own a bike.

“The City of Pittsburgh administration, and particularly Mayor Peduto, has taken great strides in the promotion of biking and walking in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh had the largest increase in bicycle commuting of any major city in the U.S. between 2000 and 2013,” says David White, executive director of the Pittsburgh Bike Share program. “With Mayor Peduto’s recent commitment to the complete streets planning paradigm, I think that Healthy Ride is poised to help transform our region. By offering city residents and visitors a convenient form of active transportation, Pittsburgh is fulfilling its promise of becoming a world class city in which to live and visit.”

Funded partly by a $1.6 million grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funding stream of the Federal Highway Administration and sponsored by Highmark, Allegheny Health Network and local foundations, the program makes available 500 soft-seated, 7-speed bikes with puncture resistant commuter sized tires. They will be located at 50 kiosks at city locations that include Shadyside, Lawrenceville, the Northside and the Strip.

Cost to rent a bike is $2 per half hour or $12 for unlimited 30-minute rides a month and $20 for unlimited 60-minute rides a month.

“In my view, this is yet another monumental step forward, anchored by strong leadership from the mayor’s office,” CAMPOS strategist Casey Taylor says in his blog.

According to the poll, one in three say they are likely to use the new program to pedal their way in and around the Golden Triangle. Sixty-five percent say that it is a good or great idea, and that number jumps to 83 percent among those who own or ride a bike.

And biking to work is great because it’s environmentally friendly, say 48 percent. More than half of the respondents say the savings on gas and wear and tear on their cars isn’t too shabby as well.

Of the 31 percent of Allegheny County residents who own a bicycle (according to a Simmons National Consumer study) 37 percent currently ride it to work – either occasionally or daily – mostly because they enjoy the exercise.

Considering our town’s hilly nature, Taylor says he is surprised that it’s the concern for safety on the streets, and not the terrain, that is the largest barrier that keeps people from biking to work.

“I think people are happy to see the extension of bicycle lanes,” he says.

Understandably, travel distance to work hinders some from having the option of biking. Others simply prefer to not show up sweaty, especially if there is no place to shower, the poll says.

Laurie Bailey is a freelance writer who has reported for many local publications. When she isn't writing she serves as a media consultant for nonprofits and other local companies.