Starting this month, our nation's capital will launch North America's first bike-sharing program. The program, SmartBike DC, signs participants up for a $40 annual membership in exchange for access to 120 bikes kept at 10 stations throughout the city. Stored at computerized racks, users simply scan their access cards, and can use the bike up to three hours at a time before returning it at any SmartBike station. Since the program is part of the District's bus-shelter contract with Clear Channel Outdoor, the D.C. Department of Transportation isn't spending any money to set it up. However, the city is likely to get a smaller percentage of revenue from bus-shelter advertising because of the costs associated with SmartBike. Clear Channel, which already runs bike-sharing programs in 13 European cities, is also working with Arlington County, Va., and San Francisco. If the program is popular, District officials plan to expand it. Last year, Idea Center featured a free bike loan program in Annapolis.