NEW YORK, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP), the world’s leading car-sharing network, announced a new program to outfit 20 SUVs in its New York City fleet with Yakima bicycle racks and Empire Passport permits to New York State Parks. This new program comes as part of Zipcar’s partnership with Bike New York, and gives New Yorkers greater access to enjoy their bikes outside of the city – whether to train for upcoming bicycle races and tours or simply enjoy the area’s scenic beaches and parks.

Fifteen of the 20 Ford Escape vehicles outfitted with the racks will be located in Manhattan, while the other five will be located in Brooklyn. In addition to the new bike racks, the vehicles will also offer Empire Passports, giving Zipcar members complimentary access to more than 50 New York State Parks including the Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, Niagara Falls State Park and Allegany State Park.

“Zipcar is constantly working to give our members greater access to their local resources,” said Charlie Irons, general manager, Zipcar New York. “Our programs with Yakima, the New York State Parks and Bike New York will give Zipsters more opportunities to engage in the active lifestyles they love by allowing them to take advantage of the surrounding state parks and utilizing their bicycles more, while also living a green and sustainable lifestyle.”

As part of its efforts to support a healthy and green lifestyle, Zipcar has become Bike New York’s official car sharing partner and sponsor of upcoming Bike New York tours. The newly outfitted Ford Escapes have arrived in advance of the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour Presented by Eastern Mountain Sports, taking place on May 1, 2011, as well as the Discover Hudson Valley Ride, taking place on June 26, 2011, to allow participants in New York City with the opportunity to train for the tours outside of the city at an affordable cost.

“With spring upon us and summer quickly approaching, we’re encouraging New Yorkers to get out, train for a tour and support riders at upcoming events,” said Joel Grabenstein, marketing and promotions manager at Yakima. “Many of New York’s fantastic bike trails are not easily accessible via public transportation and we are pleased to offer this program with Zipcar so that bicycling enthusiasts can get to where they want to go and enjoy spending time in the outdoors.”

“New York State Parks offer endless opportunities for biking, hiking, paddling or just spending the day at the beach. It’s great that an innovative company like Zipcar recognizes that the Empire Passport is a great way to launch exciting adventures at so many State Parks just down the road,” New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said.

Car sharing services like Zipcar help members enjoy a healthy lifestyle, while also providing environmental benefits.  Survey results show that Zipcar members walk, bike and use public transportation more since joining a car sharing program. According to a Frost & Sullivan report, on average in North America, each Zipcar replaces 15 cars on the road. Because vehicle miles traveled per driver is reduced almost 50 percent when car owners switch to car sharing, the change reduces CO2 emissions and resulted in 482,000 fewer tons emitted in 2009 alone.

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