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Doctors’ orders: $5 bike-sharing memberships

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Mayor Walsh and Boston Medical Center want Bostonians to get on their bikes and ride. An initiative unveiled Wednesday allows the center’s doctors to prescribe bicycle-sharing memberships for just $5.

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The program, dubbed Prescribe-a-Bike, aims to tackle the obesity epidemic and afford residents greater access to transportation by lowering the cost of the city’s Hubway bike-sharing program, according to a statement.

“There is no other program like this in the country,” Walsh said in a statement.

“Prescribe-a-Bike makes the link between health and transportation, and ensures that more residents can access the Hubway bike share system.”

The initiative builds on a subsidy that enrolled 897 members who took a combined 35,000 trips, the statement said.

Recently, the Globe reported that even among young children — a group whose obesity rate is dropping — lack of income presents a challenge.

The mayor’s office hopes to enroll 1,000 members in Prescribe-a-Bike. Participants must be at least 16 and receiving public assistance or have household income totaling no more than 400 percent of the poverty level.

Members will receive a helmet and unlimited trips with the caveat that their trips remain under 30 minutes. A typical annual membership costs $85 with additional fees for any trips taking longer than 30 minutes.

MassChallenge partners with Lightspeed

MassChallenge’s transition from Fan Pier in South Boston to nearby Drydock Avenue is not expected to be completed for several months, but the world’s largest accelerator program for startups is already making some big moves.

MassChallenge is expanding its partnership with Lightspeed MFG, a Haverhill electronics manufacturing, prototyping, and repair company.

Lightspeed will increase its contributions of equipment, including 3-D printers, software, and computer gear, along with opportunities for MassChallenge to connect with mentors in specialized areas.

“We’re going to invest several hundred thousand dollars of equipment to create a one-stop-shop to build prototypes and also give them access to our supply chain,” said Lightspeed founder Rich Breault. “We can help the hardware companies transition as they grow; we want to teach them about design for manufacturing.”

Additionally, MassChallenge recently announced a new Sidecar Prize, a $50,000 award for excellence in civic innovation.

MassChallenge partner and founding sponsor Microsoft Corp. are joining forces with the City of Boston to back the civic innovation award.

Cathy Wissink, Microsoft’s director of technology community engagement, said: “There’s a community thirst to organize around solving problems on behalf of a city, state, or country, and technologists, who are always looking to impact the world on a broader scale, see an opportunity to address challenges and provide solutions in paradigm-shifting ways.”

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