Seattle considers bikeshare rules while riders set national records

Jul 10, 2018, 3:22 PM | Updated: 5:15 pm

lime bikes...

(Matt Pitman)

(Matt Pitman)

One year and 10,000 bikes later, Seattle is nearing a decision on its bikeshare pilot. And despite common complaints, Seattleites are proving that the rides are quite popular.

Seattle bikeshare history 101

“The Emerald City was the first major US market to embrace dock-free bike sharing technology in the summer of 2017. Now, it’s become the first city in North America to reach the industry’s two-comma milestone,” Limebike states in an announcement this month, noting that the bikeshare company has provided more than 1 million rides to customers in Seattle since it rolled into town.

That’s the most rides a bikeshare company has boasted in the country. And the one million rides are just on Limebike alone, not counting the two other companies in town — SPIN and ofo. Limebike says it adds up to 30 laps around the Earth, offsetting more than 650,000 pounds of CO2. Limebike is also the only company that offers an electric bike option, which it hints has been a competitive advantage in Seattle. The company launched about 500 in February and has the largest e-fleet in America.

Future of Seattle bikeshare rules

Seattle has therefore become a testing ground for the stationless bikeshare model, The Seattle Times reports. Other cities are observing the city’s program to solve any glitches ahead of time.

RELATED: Regional Eastside bikesharing program likely coming

Postponed for about a month, Seattle Department of Transportation still must finalize bikeshare rules and regulations. The Seattle City Council is expected to consider the results of the bikeshare pilot in late July — if SDOT doesn’t delay again.

The Times notes that some cities are including parking regulations in their rules. Seattle has a few parking rules for the bikes, but that doesn’t stop them from ending up where they don’t belong or blocking sidewalks. SDOT has responded by testing bike stalls in Ballard to encourage proper parking.

The Times also reports that other cities require bikeshare bikes to lock to racks — something that current bikeshares in Seattle cannot do. JUMP, a fourth company planning to launch in Seattle once the city formalizes its permitting program, does operate by locking to bike racks.

Among the top issues city officials will consider, post-pilot, is how much to charge the bikeshare companies to operate in town. The bikeshare pilot charged $146 for an annual permit, $209 per hour for the city to review that permit (estimated to cost a total of $1,672) and $15 per bike. With an estimated 10,000 bikes on the street, Seattle has likely made $150,000 just off the per-bike fee.

In the future, that money could be used to pay for bikeshare-related purposes. One example: Fees could be used to fund parking enforcement for the bikes, which are commonly strewn in grassy areas or simply improperly parked. The City of Dallas has done just that.

MyNorthwest News

house explosion bothell...

Kate Stone

Home in Bothell destroyed in suspected gas explosion

An empty home in Bothell's North Creek neighborhood exploded Wednesday morning, according to Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue.

3 hours ago

inslee grant co battery...

L.B. Gilbert

Gov. Inslee touts green energy at new Moses Lake battery factory

Gov. Jay Inslee appeared at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new battery manufacturer factory in Moses Lake Wednesday morning.

5 hours ago

(KIRO 7)...

KIRO 7 News Staff

Seattle Children’s nurses say they’re in ‘constant state of fear’ over daily violent incidents

Nurses at Seattle Children’s Hospital are sounding the alarm over what they’re describing as a “constant state of fear” within the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit.

7 hours ago

election voter turnout...

Frank Sumrall

2023 King County election: Lowest voter turnout in nearly 90 years

Registered voters in King County have far stronger turnouts in even years. During the 2020 general election, 86.6% of registered voters turned in ballots.

7 hours ago

Seattle Amazon walkout...

Bill Kaczaraba

Ranking: Find out why Washington is the best state to find a job

Despite all the angst about returning to the office for work and unionizing efforts, Washington state is the best place to find a job.

7 hours ago

CAPTION CORRECTION CORRECTS LOCATION: An elderly person is helped in a mini-bus transporting Israel...

Associated Press

Last planned release of hostages begins, as mediators aim to extend Israel-Hamas truce

International mediators on Wednesday worked to extend the truce in Gaza, encouraging Hamas militants to keep freeing hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and further relief from Israel’s air and ground offensive. The cease-fire will otherwise end within a day.

9 hours ago

Seattle considers bikeshare rules while riders set national records