Lime, the bike and scooter company that made a big splash when it first deployed its shared bicycles on the streets of Yonkers and White Plains, has now pulled those bikes from the two Westchester cities, part of a shift in the company’s focus.
Lime started out with manual bicycles, then added electric-assist bikes to the fleets. The company started service in Yonkers in May 2018 and in White Plains in June 2018.
Lime operates internationally, and company spokesman Russell Murphy told the Business Journal that there have been in excess of 100-million trips taken by Lime riders. The company has decided, however, to focus on electric scooters and had been pulling its bikes from service in the U.S., with White Plains and Yonkers being among the last cities to still have them.
Murphy said of the company’s operations in Westchester, “We are honored to have provided an affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation solution to residents and visitors. Lime bikes eased commutes, while demonstrating the need and desire for first and last-mile micromobility options. We hope to provide innovative transportation across New York in the near future as we continue conversation with state leaders about legalizing micromobility.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Jan. 23 that his fiscal year 2021 Executive Budget includes legislation to establish comprehensive safety measures for the use of lower speed motorized bikes and e-scooters along with unpowered scooters. Cuomo proposes maximum speeds of 20 or 25 mph depending on the class of e-bike. The maximum speed for e-scooters would be 15 mph.
Both e-bike and scooter use would be prohibited on sidewalks and riders must be at least 16 years old. Helmets would be required for all e-scooter riders under 18 and for riders of bikes falling into the 25 mph category.
Local governments could issue additional regulations including setting lower speed limits and prohibiting the e-bikes and scooters.
Murphy said that Lime always encourages riders to wear helmets and it distributed more than 250,000 helmets during the past year, in addition to hosting rider safety courses.
Karen Pasquale, senior adviser to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, told the Business Journal, “Lime informed the city that it would no longer be providing bike share as of Jan. 31. The White Plains bike share program has been very successful with high usage and low complaints. We are working on getting another bike share operator in White Plains.”
Pasquale also said that the city will be watching to see what the state does with respect to regulating the operations of companies such as Lime.
Christina Gilmartin, director of communications at Mayor Mike Spano’s office in Yonkers told the Business Journal that the city has already issued a request for proposals seeking a new bike service provider and hopes to have the selection process completed before summer.
Lime had been maintaining a large warehouse and bike and scooter maintenance center on Fullerton Avenue in Yonkers. It was not immediately known what would happen with that facility.
Neutron Holdings Inc., which does business as Lime and formerly used LimeBike, is headquartered in San Francisco. Its first bike deployment was in 2017 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Lime now operates in 33 countries.
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