DAMASCUS—Saying that the initiative will reduce vehicle traffic, improve local air quality, and foster a strong sense of community, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced Tuesday that city transportation authorities across the nation will soon launch SyriaCycles, a new bike-sharing program allowing urban residents to access bicycles for short-term trips without worrying about storage or maintenance. “Transportation is a key factor in the quality of life for any urbanite, and SyriaCycles ensures that city-dwellers all over the country can travel conveniently and efficiently; it’s fast, easy, and fun,” Assad said of the new transportation system, explaining that commuters can pay daily or yearly subscription fees to access a fleet of one-size-fits-all bicycles stationed at hundreds of rental hubs across numerous Syrian cities. “All you have to do is look for the row of orange-and-gray bicycles, unlock your ride with your unique CitiKey, and you’re on your way! And of course, in the interest of safety, we would like to remind all SyriaCycles members to always wear their bike helmets.” Assad added that he hopes 2013 in Syria will be remembered as the Year of the Bicycle.