In Gilroy, the green economy soon may roll into town in the form of green bicycles.
LimeBike, a bike-share company based in Silicon Valley, will bring in between 200 and 300 bikes that can be rented on a ride-by-ride basis via a cell phone app. It’s like Uber or Lyft, just for bikes. And, it won’t cost the city a dime.
“We aim to solve the first and the last mile of your commute,” said Sam Dreiman, a representative with LimeBike. “LimeBikes get people out of their cars and makes it easier to make it to the destinations that are too far to walk to and too close to drive to.”
Bike sharing is not new to the Bay Area. FordGo Bikes are plentiful in San Jose. Unlike FordGo Bikes, LimeBike does not require a fixed docking area. LimeBikes locations will be strategically placed in areas of Gilroy that the company determines to have the highest density of riders, such as in downtown Gilroy, around schools, libraries and in shopping areas.
Being dockless means LimeBikes—so named because of their neon lime green paint jobs—are not fixed to a static location but are left standing in areas where riders are most likely to use them.
LimeBikes are “smart bikes” that are not meant to be locked to bike racks. Theft is discouraged by a locking mechanism that prevents a bike from being ridden. A GPS alarm system is also built in to alert police if a bike is forcibly unlocked. The GPS also tracks where the bikes could be if they are picked up and stolen.
“Docking stations are expensive and that’s something that a city needs to pay for,” Dreiman said. “They’re also inconvenient and they don’t get the rider to their final destination. The rider also needs to travel all over to drop the bike back off. That’s not the case with dockless bike-sharing.”
LimeBikes in Gilroy will be maintained and monitored by a team of LimeBikes employees, initially headquartered in San Jose. These teams will take care of maintenance, tracking of bikes and they will physically pick up bikes that are parked outside high use areas.
Gilroy Downtown Association President Gary Walton and Gilroy Chamber of Commerce President Mark Turner last week spoke in favor of LimeBike and its potential to drive more consumers to downtown.
“We think the downtown is a great place for LimeBike,” Walton said. “Parking is always an issue and this is an opportunity to clean that up.”
“Bike-sharing is an alternative to mass transit and it brings business to the downtown while promoting a healthy lifestyle,” Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee Chairperson Zach Hilton said. “It also allows Gilroyans from all neighborhoods to enjoy Gilroy and it will help form an inexpensive way to connect the entire city.”
For more information about LimeBikes, visit limebike.com.