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Bikey McBikeface? West Hollywood to launch new bike-share program

Bikey McBikeface

West Hollywood will soon be launching a citywide bike-share program. On Friday, the city jokingly told residents the program would be called Bikey McBikeface and released this doctored image. 

(City of West Hollywood)

Leave it to the city of West Hollywood to punk its residents on April Fools’ Day.

The city on Friday morning released a statement that it had chosen a “forward-facing name” for its forthcoming bike-share program: Bikey McBikeface.

“The bold new name is the result of dynamic thinking that embraces a whole new face for public bike-share,” the city said. Officials had used all the highfalutin tools that would make them seem hip, they said, like online crowdsourcing and the “careful expertise of an imaginative working group.”

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“When confronted with alternatives such as Bikeshare Program and Bikeshare System, the City pledged, instead, to break through the clutter of the 21st-century marketing jargon with a concept that has nice features, but that would also be right at home in a schoolyard setting,” the city said.

The name was inspired by the RRS Boaty McBoatface, the Internet-bequeathed name of a new British polar research vessel.

But, unlike the majestic Boaty McBoatface, the name Bikey McBikeface was a ruse. The city’s photos of the bright green bikes with “Bikey McBikeface” stamped on their baskets? Totally doctored.

West Hollywood, however, actually is launching a bike-share program in the coming months, with 150 GPS-enabled “smart bikes” that will let riders use a smartphone app to reserve the bicycles, pay for memberships and track and share ride data through online social networks. The bikes will have LED headlights and taillights, eight gears and cargo baskets, according to the city.   

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Twenty self-service stations are expected to be built throughout the city, and officials said they will try to build additional stations outside city limits. The city will soon launch a website for residents to suggest where bike-share stations should be built.

The exact launch date for the program has not yet been determined, but officials expect the program to begin by this summer, said Lisa Belsanti, a city spokeswoman. The city is currently trying to determine a real name for the program, she said.

The bike-share program will be operated by CycleHop LLC, which operates the Santa Monica program, Breeze Bikeshare. That program includes 500 bright-green rental bikes at 75 racks in Santa Monica and five in neighboring Venice, in the city of Los Angeles.

Long Beach, Beverly Hills and UCLA have all selected the same vendor for their bike-share systems, which means they will be compatible.

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Follow me at @haileybranson / Google+

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