The City of Ithaca, with the help of Bike Walk Tompkins, has invited LimeBike, a private dock-free bikeshare operator, to set up Ithaca's community-wide bikeshare system with at least 200 easy-to-borrow bikeshare bikes.

Person looking at LimeBike on phone

For questions about LimeBike (how to use, operations, maintenance):

  • Visit the LimeBike help page at www.limebike.com/help
  • Call the LimeBike 24/7 support line at 1-888-LIME-345
  • Read our FAQ below about LimeBike in Ithaca

For general questions about bicycling and bikeshare in Ithaca:


LimeBike in Ithaca
Frequently Asked Questions

About the Company  |  How to Use  |  Rules & Safety  |  Other Questions

About The Company

Q: Who runs the bikeshare?

A: The bikeshare will be operated by LimeBike, a for-profit American bikesharing company present in over 50 markets, with locally hired staff. Bike Walk Tompkins facilitated the process of selecting the bikeshare company that is the best fit for our community, with the cooperation of community partners.

Q: What is a dock-free bike?

Older-generation bikeshare systems, such as Citibike in New York City, rely on special bike racks called "docks" to ensure that bikes can only be borrowed by registered users. The docks are expensive and users are limited to go to places where docks exist. Dock-free bikeshares use a smartphone app for registration, and can be parked anywhere public bicycle parking is allowed because the locking mechanism is on the bike itself. When not in use, the rear wheel is locked. The bikes also have GPS and cellular connections integrated so that both the bikeshare operator and users can find bikes near them.

Q: How do I contact the bikeshare operator?

For any questions or concerns about LimeBike, call their 24/7 support line at 1-888-LIME-345 (1-888-546-3345). LimeBike's website (www.limebike.com) and their help page are also great resources to get to know the bikeshare system.

How To Use

Q: How will the bikeshare system work?

LimeBikes are first-come, first-served and can be taken on one-way trips. The bikes can be borrowed easily by downloading the LimeBike app to your smartphone and scanning the QR code on the back of the bicycle you want. Bikes can be borrowed at $1 per 30 minutes, with discounts available for people with .EDU email addresses and people receiving government assistance. Once you arrive at your destination, park at an appropriate place and manually lock the bike to end your trip.

Q: Where should I park the bikes?

Since there are no fixed docks to park the bikes, in the City of Ithaca the bikeshare bikes should be parked:

  1. At or near existing public bike racks
  2. Next to other neatly parked bikes
  3. On the "furniture zone" of wide sidewalks (ex. the space between street trees by the curb)

On university campuses or outside the City, bikes should only be parked at existing public bike racks.

Don't block pathways, bus stops, ramps for wheelchairs, or leave them on the ground. The bikeshare relies on good parking etiquette. Please park responsibly.

Q: Is the bikeshare accessible to people who do not have smartphones or bank cards?

LimeBike offers its discounted Lime Access program for people who currently receive government assistance, such as SNAP benefits. Lime Access users can pay in cash at PayNearMe locations and use a regular cellphone if necessary. For details and registration, visit www.limebike.com/community-impact.

Q: I see myself using this a lot. Is there a monthly membership?

Yes. In the LimeBike app you can sign up for LimePrime, an automatically-renewable monthly membership that provides up to 100 rides of 30 minutes or less at a reduced cost. If you see yourself riding even more often, or you'd like the benefit of having a personal bicycle, consider visiting one of Ithaca's local bike shops.

Q: Is it possible to reserve a LimeBike?

Not currently. LimeBikes are borrowed on a first-come, first-served basis because people expect to be able to use any bicycle they see that is parked. However, with over 200 bicycles in Ithaca, a LimeBike will never be too far away from you. And if it is, consider asking LimeBike to bring more bicycles to Ithaca.

Q: Is it possible to ride a bikeshare bike up Ithaca’s hills?

Yes, it is possible. LimeBikes have 8 gears and very effective drum brakes. That being said, bikes will soon be available throughout Ithaca, so you can take TCAT buses up or down the hill and finish the trip with a LimeBike.

Q: Will the bikeshare be available in the winter?

Yes. A smaller fleet of LimeBikes will be available during the winter to ensure that this transportation service is available year round.

Rules & Safety

Q: Does the bikeshare operator have to abide by any rules?

LimeBike and its users have to follow the bicycling rules and laws of the City of Ithaca and university partners. The City will also have control over the size of the bikeshare fleet and where bicycles can go. The bikeshare company has to answer to the City for any concerns.

Q: Will helmets be provided with the bikeshare bikes?

The bikeshare operator does not provide helmets with their bikes. Helmets are not required by law in Ithaca and Tompkins County except for people 13 and under. However, we encourage people to use their own helmet. If you do not have one, you can pick one up at a reasonable price at many of our local bike shops. Bike Walk Tompkins and our partners are also doing helmet giveaways at Streets Alive! Ithaca and future events.

Q: Can the bikes be ridden at night?

Yes. All LimeBikes have front and rear lights that turn on once you start pedaling, and will stay on for a while when you stop. While not required, we encourage you to increase your safety and visibility by wearing a helmet and/or wearing light-colored clothing.

Q: Will users know the rules of the road?

LimeBike will have rules of the road and basic biking information in their smartphone app, and first-time users will receive an in-app orientation of the rules. Bike Walk Tompkins, through Streets Alive! Ithaca and the Ithaca Bike Champions program, will also be holding many community events where people can learn the rules of the road no matter how they move around.

Q: What if the bikes are left in places where they should not be?

While the rear wheel of the LimeBikes are locked, the front wheel can still move. If you see a bike that is poorly parked, the fastest way to fix it is to simply pick it up by the seat and roll it to a more appropriate spot. LimeBike will also have crews checking on all the bikes in the city. For more challenging or urgent situations, anyone can call 1-888-LIME-345 or use the LimeBike app to report misplaced bicycles. Local staff will take care of it as soon as they are able to.

Other Questions

Q: What is Bike Walk Tompkins' role in the bikeshare system?

Bike Walk Tompkins does not run the bikeshare system that LimeBike provides, but we have facilitated bringing it to Ithaca. Based on experiences in other cities, we know that having a larger bikeshare in our area will help bicycling become a more reliable form of transportation here. We are working closely with the City of Ithaca, university partners, and LimeBike to set up a truly community-wide bikeshare system for all by the end of 2018. See the Bikeshare Request for Information (RFI) that we released in the fall of 2017 to learn more about the process that got us here.

Q: As a visitor, should I even consider renting a bike from a local shop?

While this is a personal preference, LimeBikes are best used for quick in-town trips where bicycling is not the only way you will use to get around. Consider renting a bicycle from a local bike shop if you prefer to have one well-fitting bicycle for the entire duration of your stay, or if you need a bicycle for purposes other than city riding.

Q: How can a person driving a vehicle help make the bikeshare (and biking) safe and successful?

Thank you for asking. Stay alert and be patient as you share the road with all users, including people who bike. Slow down first, and if you must pass someone biking, pass with at least 3 feet or more of space.