Tuesday, December 19th 2017 at 11:16AM GMT
The self-proclaimed “Bicycle Capital of America” is to be part of a three-city pedal-assist dockless bike share scheme. Davis, California, will be hoping the JUMP e-bikes provided by Social Bicycles of New York will increase cycle use in the city, which in the 1960s was the first in America to install protected cycleways.
Earlier this year Social Bicycles inaugurated the world’s first dockless e-bike scheme in Washington DC, and told BikeBiz that it was seeking to expand to four other US cities by next summer. It has now been revealed that the biggest scheme will be the one to be installed in May next year in the adjoining cities of Davis, Sacramento, and West Sacramento.
The dockless fleet of 600 e-bikes – which will be the largest in North America – will be owned and operated by Social Bicycles, but licensed by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG).
Each JUMP e-bike has a 250-watt front hub electric motor limited to a maximum pedal-assist speed of 19mph. All bikes feature GPS to facilitate finding a bike, and an integrated U-lock.
Social Bicycles was founded in 2010 by ex-transportation planner Ryan Rzepecki, the company’s current CEO. It is based in Brooklyn and has 12,000 dockless bike share bikes in more than 40 cities across the world, including the Nike-sponsored Biketown of Portland, Oregon and Brighton Bike Share of Brighton and Hove in the UK.
In most American cities, the modal share for cycling struggles to reach 2 percent; in Davis it’s 20 percent. During the 1960s and 1970s, when the rest of America was building only for cars, Davis built for bicycles. A heady mix of factors created a bike culture: a pancake-flat topography, dogged citizen activism, and a political buy-in. However, despite having a comprehensive city-wide network of protected cycleways and painted bike lanes, cycle usage in the campus-dominated city has been declining in recent years, partly due to the provision of a free bus service for students and academics.
It’s hoped that the new pedal-assist dockless bike system will arrest this decline.
Other cities around the world are also installing pedal-assist bike-share systems, although most of them feature docks. Lisbon in Portugal has plans to roll out 940 electric bike-share bikes to cope with the city’s hills. The bikes are made by Portuguese bike company, Orbita.
Madrid has had the BiciMAD system of pedal-assist bike-share bikes since 2014.
The Vélib system of docked bike-share bikes in Paris will soon be overhauled by a new operator – the French-Spanish consortium Smoovengo – and 30 percent of them will be e-bikes.
Pic above shows a Social Bicycles dockless e-bike at the UK’s Bike Share conference held in Manchester earlier this year.