- The California cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis are working together to launch an electric bike-sharing program by May 15, 2018.
- The cities have been doing a bike share "preview" — or pilot program — since May 2017 with 50 traditional bikes. The permanent system will have 300 e-bikes to begin, and another 600 will be added within a few months.
- The pedal-assist e-bikes allow riders to reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
To go directly from no bike-share system to an e-bike system without a full-scale traditional system in between is a bold move. Technically the "preview" is a traditional system, but it was always intended to be temporary, and with only 50 bikes it's a far cry from most full-scale bike shares.
Yet, the preview still provides the cities with data on which to build a strong system, such as whether residents and visitors would use the bikes and where to locate the stations. The system's success prompted leaders to move forward with their public-private partnership with bike-share service provider Social Bicycles (SoBi) to implement the larger scale, more capital intensive e-bike system.
It seems appropriate that Davis finally is part of a bike-sharing system, considering the small city was the first in the country to paint dedicated bike lanes back in 1967, it is home to the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame and about a quarter of its population reports biking to work. But with only 68,000 people and less than 10 square miles of land, it would have been hard for the city to pull off a scalable bike-share program on its own. Other municipalities are also exploring and finding success with forming partnerships to develop programs, such as the 16 small Boston suburbs that banded together to form their own bike-share system.