In addition to seeing more green-painted bikeways in Bellevue, the community will be seeing more green bicycles as part of the city’s one-year bike share pilot. Bellevue is the first bike share system in the Pacific Northwest to feature exclusively electric-assisted bicycles (also called e-bikes) and a network of preferred parking areas.
“The city’s bike share pilot aims to provide people who live in, work in and visit Bellevue with more choices about how they get where they want to go,” Transportation Director, Dave Berg, said in a press release. “Bellevue has a lot of hills, so we’re focusing on e-bikes to make riding an option for as many people as possible across the city.”
An electric motor provides a boost while pedaling, so riders can go anywhere without breaking a sweat. The motor provides assistance up to 15 miles per hour. The green bikes are owned and operated by Lime, a private company based in San Mateo, California.
“We are thrilled to welcome the City of Bellevue to the Lime family,” Isaac Gross, Lime’s general manager for Puget Sound, said in a press release. “Providing mobility choices to help people get around is a core value, and we are couldn’t be more pleased to be launching here today.”
To help manage where bikes are left and to maintain orderly public spaces, white boxes are painted on sidewalks throughout downtown to mark preferred parking areas, called “bike hubs.” Users are encouraged to park bicycles at bike hubs when ending a ride, and Lime will regularly relocate bikes to these areas to provide reliable service. Additional bike hubs are coming to other neighborhoods later this summer, including Crossroads, Eastgate and Factoria.
Bike share bicycles can be located and unlocked using Lime’s mobile app. Lime’s e-bikes cost $1 to rent plus 15 cents per minute of use. Discount rates are available to those qualify. Lime has more information.
The city is asking bike share users to be courteous of other street users, yield to pedestrians when riding on sidewalks and always wear a helmet when bicycling in Bellevue. When parking, bike share users should not block walkways or curb ramps, which can significantly impact mobility for others, especially people with disabilities. Parked bikes also should not block vehicle travel lanes, building entrances, driveways or bus stop loading areas. When in doubt, a bike rack is always an appropriate place to leave any bicycle.
Lime obtained a permit to use the public right of way to provide bike share services subject to specific conditions defined by the city. The permit conditions include requirements related to safety, parking and operations. The Transportation Department will collect data from the GPS-enabled bikes to support permit oversight and performance evaluation, and to help determine where it should invest more in streets and sidewalks.
To obtain a permit, Lime paid a fee that reimburses the city for various one-time and ongoing costs associated with oversight and management. The service is being provided at no cost to the city. The one-year pilot will help inform next steps for bike share in Bellevue.
For specific questions about the pilot, contact Andreas Piller, associate transportation planner and bike share manager, at APiller@bellevuewa.gov or (425) 452-2931.