Citing concerns about dangerously place bikes on sidewalks and the number of bikes in a geographically small city, the Everett City Council will ask the mayor’s office and LimeBike to come to the next council meeting and answer questions about the new service.
The bikes made their debut in the city Thursday. They work on a dockless system and are easily visible because of their bright, lime-green color. The bikes are part of a regional planning effort by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Councilor Fred Capone led the council to see more information about LimeBike, placing an item on the agenda, “That the city consider banning or regulating the lime rental bikes.”
“The bikes are of a valid purpose—they’re [eco-friendly] green, cost-effective, and easy transportation. But I have some concerns because not everybody who leaves the bikes do so in a considerate manner,” Capone said. “They can be left blocking sidewalks or being left on private property.”
Councilor Michael McLaughlin said he is concerned about the number of bikes in the city. “They put 300 bikes in a city of less than four square miles. At some point, we have saturation,” he said. McLaughlin, an avid runner, said he encountered one bike left in the middle of the street.
LimeBikes works on a dockless system in which potential riders use an app to locate the nearest bike. They can then use a credit card to rent the bike for as long as they want and leave it wherever they want. A GPS system keeps track of each bike and the last person to ride it. If someone leaves a bike in a dangerous or inappropriate location, the company will know who it is and that rider can be put on probation or even banned from using the system.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria was among those celebrating the kickoff of LimeBike last Thursday. “Happy to join Lime Bike…to launch a citywide dock-free bikeshare program in Everett. Providing alternative and active transportation for Everett residents is key to reducing congestion, air pollution and growing economic opportunity, health and well-being in the City. I’m excited to be partnering with LimeBike to bring bike sharing to the City in order to help us achieve these goals,” the mayor’s Facebook page said.
The system is set up so city residents can call the city’s 311 city assistance line if they have a problem with where the bikes are left. Capone says that’s not enough. “I’d like to be proactive on this. The company doesn’t seem to be accepting any of the responsibility [for where the bikes are left].”
In the mayor’s Facebook post last Thursday, DeMaria said that work is underway. “We have been working with the company and community to make sure riders are courteous and learn where the bicycles may be left appropriately. Lime Bike will be working directly with our 311 System to respond to any complaints of mis-parked bikes. If you see a bike that is blocking a driveway or sidewalk, please call our 311 Department to report the location of the bike and someone from Lime Bike will come by and pick it up. We will be continously educating riders to responsibly park by the street curb or at a bike rack.”
The council voted to have the mayor’s office and LimeBike be present at the June 25 council meeting to answer questions.
The council decided to invite someone form the mayor’s office and LimeBack to appear at the next council meeting on June 25.