Everything you need to know about NYC’s new Dockless Bike Share
The day of dockless bikes has arrived in New York City: The city’s pilot program, which has been in the works since 2017, got underway in July, with the new bike share landing in the Rockaways first, then Staten Island and the Bronx.
The program, which will run through the fall, is intended to connect areas in the outer boroughs that aren’t yet served by Citi Bike to a new public transit option, while hopefully easing congestion in the process. If all goes well, dockless bikes could eventually become a permanent presence in the boroughs. (It hasn’t been without its hiccups; one of the operators selected by the city’s Department of Transportation, ofo, withdrew from the program before it even began.)
New Yorkers are already familiar with the concept of bike share—Citi Bike has been a growing, and popular, presence in Manhattan since 2013—but the new dockless program is a whole other animal, because it’s not station-based. So what does it all mean? And how does it work? We’ve got you covered with this explainer.
What is dockless bike share?
According to Alta Planning and Design, “As the name suggests, dockless bike share does not require a docking station—an expense that could sometimes limit the number of bikes a city could afford. With dockless systems, bicycles can be parked within a defined district at a bike rack or along the sidewalk. Dockless bikes can be located and unlocked using a smartphone app.”
When did New York get dockless bikes?
Last year, DOT announced that it would implement a pilot program to expand the city’s bike share system to areas not covered by Citi Bike. After announcing the locations for the program in May, the pilot officially rolled out in July.
Where can I find dockless bikes?
They’re in three boroughs right now: In the Rockaways in Queens; the North Shore of Staten Island; and the area around Fordham University in the Bronx. They’ll also come to Coney Island later this year.
Which companies are bringing dockless bikes to NYC?
There are a few: In the Rockaways, it’s Pace and Lime; in Staten Island, it’s Lime and Jump; and in the Bronx, it’s Jump and Motivate, which operates Citi Bike. When the pilot launches in Coney Island, Motivate will be in charge, along with another to-be-determined company.
What about e-bikes? Are those available?
As of July 28, yes: Earlier this year, the city “clarified” its law regarding e-bikes, allowing for pedal-assist bikes—which reach a top speed of 20 miles per hour, and whose mechanism is activated only when a rider pedals—on city streets. (This clarification distinguishes pedal-assist bikes from throttle bikes, which are still illegal, much to the chagrin of delivery workers who use them to get around—and feel hey’re unfairly targeted by the city.)
How do you use dockless bikes?
Each operator has its own app, which you use to unlock and pay for a trip. (Jump bikes can also be rented via the Uber app.) If you’ve ever used Citi Bike’s app, it’s pretty much the same: Once you’re in the range of an available bike, you either enter a code, use a QR code, or tap a button that unlocks it, and go for a ride.
Source: Curbed NY