In St. Petersburg leaders are looking at ways to update the city’s micromobility options, including electric bikes. This will be taken into consideration on February 6 when the city council will consider approving the second amendment to their agreement with Cycle Hop LLC (the company that’s been responsible for the city’s bike share program since 2016). The amendment would allow for a three-year extension to the agreement, updating the bikes to electric ones, and modifying the price payment structure.

Why Bikes are Being Updated

The technology that’s used by the existing bikes has grown old and needs updated so the equipment continues functioning correctly and can meet the desired service level. This is especially important now that the industry is beginning to incorporate electric bikes within their fleets. It’s recommended that St. Petersburg start introducing this mobility option alongside of their motorized scooter share program.

Considering the popularity of Cycle Hop’s Coast Bike Share program throughout last year, this makes sense. In all there were more than 115,000 trips covering over 241,000 miles throughout the city in 2019.

What the Updated Program Will Include

Cycle Hop will be upgrading St. Petersburg’s fleet of bicycles as part of their second amendment agreement with the city. They will also trade in used bikes for 300 new HOPR 3 bikes on the HOPR platform. There will be no cost for taking these steps which would expand the fleet to 50 electric bikes at a cost of $1,495 per bike or a total of $74,750. These will all be three-speed bikes that can reach a speed of 20 MPH and cover about 40 miles with a single charge. Once the agreement for them is approved, they’d be introduced exclusively to the city of St. Petersburg within the next 120 days.

This will be a great way to provide another mobility option – one that will be faster, easier, and that will also make you less sweaty than if you were to use one of the bike share’s pedal bikes. These changes are also expected to help keep the bike share more relevant as motorized scooter will be introduced to the St. Petersburg area in the spring of 2020.

Tampa has already introduced scooters as part of the bike share program they have along their shore. There people are taking around 4,000 trips each month using these bikes. This will be slightly higher than the number that’s expected to use them in St. Petersburg. However, Tampa has never added any electric bikes to their fleet.

Overall research shows that scooters’ impact on bike share programs has mixed results. This is because there are several factors that must be taken into consideration (e.g. the program’s age, expanse, availability; the community’s regulation of their micromobility framework).

Conclusion

The cost of buying and implementing these electric bikes has been appropriated within the Multimodal Impact Fees Capital Improvement Fund. This means you won’t need to worry about this, but you should know that bikes do make driving more challenging. If you find yourself getting into an accident with one of them, make sure you seek legal representation immediately. For this you should contact the Rojas Law Group.

Picture Credit: Ikaika

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