Hamilton’s bike share program will be launched early this summer.

“We’re excited to add this travel choice to our existing range of transportation options to make travelling even more convenient and sustainable,” said Peter Topalovic, project manager of transportation demand management with the City of Hamilton. The city announced the date Friday.

“Bike Share is the fastest growing transportation mode in the world, complementing existing public transit and providing first and last mile connectivity by filling in transit gaps.

“It’s a healthy, sustainable, and affordable form of public transportation.”

U.S. company Social Bicycles will operate the system and it will be funded through a hybrid approach of local sponsorship and user fees. The program will include a system with 750 bicycles and 80 bike stations throughout the city.

Planners at Social Bicycles and the city are currently deciding on station site selection. The public can provide suggestions on station locations through Social Cyclist, a public planning app developed by Social Bicycles and available for free in the iTunes or Google Play stores.

The public can chime in until March 3. The community can sign up through the app, online through my.socialcyclist.com, or provide suggestions via email: info@hamiltonbikeshare.ca, or phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2553.

 Once the process is completed, the city will announce the final locations of the bike stations, where people can pick up and drop off bikes.

City councillors voted to spend $1.6 million to implement the bike share program back in December. A capital grant from Metrolinx will pay for the project. This is Social Bicycles’ first project in Canada. Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal already have bike share programs.

Social Bicycles operates bike share programs in Buffalo, Orlando and Hoboken, New Jersey. The money just buys the bicycles and stations. The operating cost will be covered by memberships and sponsorships Social Bicycles will attain for the program, said Topalovic.

Social Bicycles assumes all legal and financial liability, a staff report on bike share said. And if not enough people use the bike share program, staff said, the city will dismantle it and sell the bicycles.

“We are pleased to partner with the City of Hamilton to bring bike share to this community,” said Social Bicycles CEO Ryan Rzepecki. “We appreciate Hamilton’s collective commitment to providing a safe, low-cost, and healthy transportation alternative to Ontario residents.”