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Seattle dislikes biking in the rain, but shuns bikeshares in the snow

Lime Bikes buried in snow in Seattle. (Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)

If Seattleites don’t prefer to ride bikes in the rain, then they really don’t like biking in the snow. That’s the revelation from a recent bikeshare report from the Seattle Department of Transportation.

It’s among a few other insights (riders don’t seem to care about properly parking Jump bikes compared to Lime bikes; more on that below), have emerged as the bikeshare industry evolves across the country this winter. Lime is pulling out of a handful of cities, and scooters are being favored. Though Lime remains in Seattle, without a scooter in sight.

Snow vs bikeshare

The February bikeshare report from SDOT (the most recently published report) shows bikeshare numbers for the month in 2018 and 2019. One significant factor about February 2019 — the region was blanketed with snow.

  • About 92,000 total bikeshare trips in January 2019
  • About 50,000 total bikeshare trips in February 2019 (during the snow storms)
  • There were about 98,000 bikeshare trips in February 2018

RELATED: SDOT blames weather for decrease in biking
RELATED: LimePod carsharing service starts in Seattle

A few other points from the February bikeshare report:

  • 40,000 total individual users of Seattle’s free-floating bikeshare system in January
  • 27,000 total individual users in February after the snow hit
  • Four trips per day, per 1,000 residents in January; 2.2 trips in February
  • 2.2 average trips per user in January; 1.9 average trips per user in February

Bikeshare industry changing

Both bikeshare companies are still operating in Seattle, though various reports over March indicate that Lime is pulling its bikes out of other cities.

Lime didn’t complete a pilot program in Sunnyvale, Calif. and pulled its bikes in March. The company also pulled its bikes out of Durham and Lake Forest, North Carolina, telling the cities that it was shifting to favor scooters over bikes. It told the same thing to St. Paul, Minn. when it ended its service there this month. It also wound down operations in Hartford, Conn. in February.

Lime hasn’t indicated any such departure from Seattle. Nearly 2,000 bikeshare rides (Jump and Lime) were taken off of Seattle streets in February, however, during the snowy weather. On Feb. 3 there were 7,207 free floating bikeshare rides on Seattle streets. By Feb. 10, there were 5,586. That went down to 5,230 by Feb. 17. Numbers finally started to go back up on Feb. 24 when they rose to 6,206.

Lime has also recently started LimePod in Seattle — a carsharing service.

Bikeshare parking

SDOT’s March bikeshare report has not yet been published. The department expects to report on new data in April for parking compliance. SDOT  has a goal for vendors to achieve no more than 3 percent of bikes creating an obstruction hazard; and no more than 30 percent of bikes improperly parked.

What the city currently knows is that there were 53 reports of improperly parked Jump bikes in February, and 22 for Lime. But the companies were relatively prompt responding to such issues, depending on how you look at it.

SDOT wants companies to respond to parking complaints within 2 hours during the day, and 4 hours over night (between midnight and 6 a.m.). It requires them to adhere to this standard 75 percent of the time. Jump managed 81 percent and Lime managed 86 percent — both exceeding the goal.

But SDOT also has a goal of 99 percent for companies to respond to all complaints within 48 hours. Jump fell just short at 92 percent. Lime did not have data for this point.

New bike racks

SDOT is also steadily en route toward its goal of boosting the number of bike racks in Seattle by 15-20 percent.

There have been 39 new bike parking spaces installed so far in 2019. There are 31 more planned. But even more bike parking spots are likely to be installed. A 20 percent increase in bike parking spaces equals about 800 new spaces.

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