SEATTLE -- Hundreds of new wheels are about to join the traffic fighting for space on Seattle streets.

Launch date for the Pronto bike sharing program is just weeks away and potential users are getting a first look at the new rides.

Dueretha Williams was among the riders checking out the bikes at the South Lake Union Block party Friday, but like a lot of people she s wondering if this will work here.

Lately you always hear cars and bicycles having accidents, so I think it is a concern because the traffic is so congested downtown, she said.

The challenge for Pronto is to convince commuters that the bikes can safely handle the city s congestion and those hills.

Shared bikes in other cities usually have three gears, but Pronto will use seven.

And since helmets are required in Seattle, each bike docking station will have a helmet vending machine. Riders will share those too.

And then when they re done they actually put it back into the machine and it drops down and goes off for sanitation, explained Kyle McMahon, marketing manager for Pronto.

They re also planning classes to show people the best way to ride alongside traffic.

Certainly Seattle is getting bigger and more crowded and I think it s great to have bikes available to people, said Cathy Kerns, who was also checking out a Pronto bike.

It s a great idea, said Trish Macvey. Maybe it would get some of the cars off the road.

Memberships go on sale at the end of the month. It ll cost $85 a year for unlimited 30 minute trips between docking stations. A day-pass costs $8.

Pronto should be rolling by the end of September and it ll only work if riders are on-board.

Cities like New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. have similar bike sharing programs.

Read or Share this story: