Nashville, Tennessee, launched its first dockless electric bike-sharing pilot program on Tuesday, according to a city press release.
The multi-month project aims to evaluate whether shared, dockless e-bikes are a viable transportation option in the pilot area, which includes the neighborhoods of North Nashville, West Nashville and South Nashville. Micromobility service operators Bird, Lime and Spin will each provide 25 dockless e-bikes — 75 in total — for the program. The city excluded downtown Nashville from the pilot because it would interfere with an ongoing study of how to improve mobility and reduce traffic congestion in the area. Recommendations from that study are expected in spring 2023.
The micromobility companies will use education and geofencing technology to ensure the dockless e-bikes stay in the pilot area. The Nashville Department of Transportation also installed 24 bike racks in the test zones “to encourage responsible use of the dockless technology,” according to the press release. Users will be required to secure the bikes to a bike rack in the pilot program area after use.
Nashville has had a docked e-bike program operated by BCycle since 2012. The program has more than 30 docks throughout the city, with many locations in or near downtown. It temporarily shut down over COVID-19 concerns before reopening in July 2021.
“We’re extremely excited about bringing dockless e-bikes to Nashville in a safe and responsible way,” Nashville Department of Transportation Director Diana Alarcon said in the release. “Our goal as a department and city should be to offer a truly multimodal network that prioritizes the most vulnerable roadway users — including people riding bikes, and that’s why we’re committed to quickly and dramatically expanding Nashville’s bikeways network.”
While many local governments rely on micromobility users to behave responsibly, some limit where and when people can ride and park dockless vehicles to avoid cluttering sidewalks and streets. Such clutter can pose safety and logistical challenges, particularly to people with certain disabilities and other sidewalk and road users.