Mayor Bill de Blasio today welcomed the city’s first-ever dockless bicycles to the Rockaways, as two different companies began operations under a pilot program that the Department of Transportation (DOT) will manage.
Joining the mayor were elected officials and dockless company executives along the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk. Starting today, riders can use the Lime or Pace mobile apps to rent bicycles all along the Rockaway peninsula, the first time that a community outside Citi Bike’s service area is experiencing bike share.
“There is no more fitting place in New York City to rollout our dockless bikes than the Rockaways,” said de Blasio. “Residents and visitors alike will now find the Rockaways’ world class beaches, restaurants and other attractions more accessible than ever.”
For the Rockaways dockless pilot, Pace will offer 50 bikes starting today, with a total of 200 bicycles available within a week. Lime, which offers both regular and pedal-assist bikes, is introducing 100 regular bikes today and will add 100 pedal-assist bikes after July 28.
Under a rule adopted last month by DOT, pedal-assist dockless bikes can be operational after Saturday, July 28 – the date when the rule clarifying pedal-assist bikes’ legal status goes fully into effect. Each company’s bikes are priced for rental at $1 per 30-minute ride – while Lime’s pedal-assist bikes will cost $1 to unlock and then $.15/minute thereafter.
To use dockless bike share in the Rockaways, riders should download the Lime or Pace app on a mobile phone: how-to videos are available from Lime here and from Pace here. Each company’s rides must remain within the Rockaways pilot area.
When done riding, riders should closely follow instructions for locking bikes — being sure to leave them in locations that are safe and accessible to future riders. The bikes should be parked in a bike rack or on the sidewalk – in line with other street furniture. Bikes should never be left in the street nor should they be parked on the Boardwalk, blocking sidewalks, intersections, doorways, ramps, or driveways.
Community engagement and consultation have been a central part of preparation for the pilot. During June, DOT visited Queens Community Board 14, which covers the Rockaways, unveiling its plans and the established boundaries for the pilot area. After community feedback, DOT expanded the Rockaways pilot area, which now includes virtually the entire peninsula – from the Nassau County border west to Jacob Riis Park and the boundary of Breezy Point.
The Rockaways is the first of four pilot areas where dockless bike share is rolling out. Later this month, the bike share pilot will expand as bikes arrive on the North Shore of Staten Island with bikes provided by the dockless companies JUMP and Lime. After that, bikes provided by JUMP and ofo will be provided in the area around Fordham University in the central Bronx. Later this year, Coney Island in Brooklyn will also host a pilot with dockless bikes supplied by Motivate (see earlier announcement here).
During the pilot, DOT will carefully evaluate companies’ compliance with requirements around data accessibility and user privacy. Evaluation criteria will also include the safety, availability and durability of the bikes themselves. In the evaluation period, DOT will also determine future steps, including the possible implementation of pilots in different or expanded geographic areas.
“Today’s introduction of dockless bikes to the Rockaways is a welcome addition to our beautiful boardwalk, offering an affordable and accessible transportation option for the community. Pilot testing this first wave of bikes will provide valuable insight, hopefully leading to the full implementation of this emerging technology,” said U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gradens, Far Rockaway, and JFK Airport) “I commend DOT, Lime and Pace for working together to give Rockaway residents and our visitors an innovative way of getting to and from our great restaurants and beaches along the peninsula.”
“Bringing New York City’s first-ever dockless bicycles pilot program to the Rockaways will have a major positive impact on the entire peninsula,” said State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspethand parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways). “By giving people the option to rent bicycles, DOT has made an effort to allow people a great way to access the Rockaways and for individuals to further enjoy what the peninsula has to offer, while also getting more cars off the road. I would like to thank DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, as well as the companies Lime and Pace, for starting this great pilot program here in the Rockaways.”
For more information on New York City’s bike share system, please see www.nyc.gov/bikeshare.