BWT encourages City of Ithaca to take cautiously optimistic approach to Lime’s e-scooters

ITHACA, NY (March 14, 2019) – Bike Walk Tompkins (BWT) has worked locally for over five years to reduce barriers to bicycling in Ithaca. In line with that goal, BWT helped bring a bikeshare system by introducing LimeBike, a for-profit private company, to the City of Ithaca in 2018. “There is no question that the launch of bikeshare led to an exciting riding season last year. With over 80,000 rides taken in 8 months, the bikeshare clearly demonstrated that when people have access to bikes, they definitely ride them,” said Hector Chang, Active Transportation Coordinator at Bike Walk Tompkins.

Bike Walk Tompkins is and has always been a separate entity from LimeBike, now known as Lime. As part of our continuing work on bicycle and pedestrian issues, BWT has observed the recent deployments of dockless e-scooters by Lime and similar companies across the country. “Lime has been a great partner to work with and we’ve been impressed with their bikeshare operations. We recognize that e-scooters are a new and different form of transportation. It’s encouraging to see that people have been using e-scooters as an affordable and efficient method of transportation in other cities. However, without better infrastructure for either bikes or e-scooters, we are concerned about the safety of pedestrians and riders when e-scooters are used on sidewalks or on roads with potholes,” Chang noted.

Given the opportunities and potential issues, Bike Walk Tompkins encourages the City to start an e-scooter pilot following the reasonable guidelines that the Mobility, Accessibility, and Transportation Commission proposed. Cities that proactively establish rules and regulations for e-scooters and partner with companies on pilot programs generally see more positive outcomes, and we applaud the Commission and the City for moving in this direction. Bike Walk Tompkins strongly encourages that any e-scooter agreements between Lime and the City require continued presence of a bikeshare system. Looking forward, BWT will continue to advocate for safer and more convenient active transportation options in our community.