In fact, nearly 200 of these bikes are expected to come to city streets in time for the Streets Alive Festival on April 21.
The City of Ithaca and Bike Walk Tompkins announced last month that LimeBike, a bike sharing service is riding into the area.
The GPS-enabled bikes are powered by a solar panel in the bike’s basket. Using an app, riders register with LimeBike and can locate a bike near them.
LimeBike will have one full-time employee in Ithaca who will oversee the Ithaca operation as well as five to seven part-time employees who will respond to complaints and perform maintenance.
“Bike Litter” in Dallas
While many politicians tout the positive benefits of bike sharing services, cities like Dallas received over 900 complaints about dock-less bikes. The major issue cities with similar programs face is “bike litter,” when bikes are left and locked in the middle of sidewalks or yards.
Dallas hosts five bike sharing companies, but LimeBike received the most grievances with over 580 complaints.
City of Dallas Councilwoman, Jennifer Gates said she supports a “vibrant and successful” bike sharing program, but she feels the challenges the city faces need to be addressed.
“I believe we need to move forward with an ordinance that includes a permitting process and also creates zones, locations or spaces the bikes can be dropped off,” Gates said.
Gates added she believes the city needs to be “nimble and flexible” when allowing new transportation options.
Avoiding “Bike Litter” in IthacaUnlike Dallas, which has multiple bike share companies, LimeBike will be the only one in Ithaca.
Bike Walk Tompkins interviewed 10 companies and chose LimeBike based on the proposal the company submitted.
Hector Chang, active transportation and bike walk coordinator at Bike Walk Tompkins, said the amount of “bike litter” in cities can be attributed to a surplus in bikes.
“In places like Dallas specifically, they don’t have rule or regulations… you have competition that have serious ‘cash to burn,’ and they want to make sure a bike is always next to you,” Chang said. “If the [competing] companies aren’t everywhere, they might lose out to their competitor.”
The City of Ithaca is also drafting a “memorandum of understanding” with LimeBike about the role the service will play to curb bike litter.
“We wanted to make it clear the city has no responsibility for it,” said Ithaca’s Director of Engineering Tim Logue, who drafted the memorandum. “So we’re not in charge of bikes that are parked poorly, bikes that are lost, or bikes that are vandalized.”
Logue also said the city will not respond to complaints about bikes, instead it will forward complaints to LimeBike.
“Most people ultimately call the city for problems, we expect people probably will, but we wanted to be clear with LimeBike that we will turn-around and call them… They seem very comfortable with that.”
Logue said the City of Ithaca is happy to have a transportation service coming to the community, at no cost to the city.
“People have another convenient way to get around the city. People may not be immediately next to a bus stop, but a bike-share bike might be the perfect solution to that.”