Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 6, 2017

LimeBike share

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

A bit fluffy, but the City of Alameda has its first bike share.  It’s not the docked kind that you see in big cities, but rather a dockless bike share which I’m sure will be initially confusing and befuddling.  From the City’s press release:

[T]he City of Alameda is bringing LimeBike to its streets, marking the first dock-less bike share to come to the East Bay. At least 300 LimeBikes will be available throughout the island, providing Alameda locals and visitors with a more affordable, reliable, and sustainable transportation option. With LimeBike’s bike share services, people can spontaneously make short trips by bicycle to get to the ferry terminal, lunch, or run a quick errand.

“More and more people are looking for quick ways to get around Alameda,” said City Manager Jill Keimach. “This new dock-less bike share program provides more options to get around and will help reduce drive-alone trips — one of our island’s transportation goals.”

After getting enthusiastic feedback from the business community and its transportation agency partners, the City is entering into a non-exclusive agreement with LimeBike for a six-month pilot program. At the end of the pilot, the City will consider adjusting and/or extending the program. Unlike the traditional station-based bike share systems, there are no costs to the City for implementing or operating this program.

“As the first dock-less bike share in the East Bay, LimeBike is thrilled to provide a more sustainable, affordable transportation alternative for Alameda residents and visitors,” said Megan Colford, LimeBike’s Bay Area Operations Manager.

LimeBike’s pay-as-you-go rides cost just $1.00, or 50 cents for students, for a 30-minute ride. Adults are encouraged to bring their own helmet, and everyone under 18 is required by law to wear a helmet.

All bright green LimeBikes are GPS and 3G-enabled, making it simple for riders to find, unlock, and ride off on a nearby bike using the iPhone iOS or Android smartphone app. Download the LimeBike app to find a bike nearby. Scan or enter the bike’s plate number to unlock the bike. When the ride is finished, riders simply lock the bike’s back wheel and responsibly park between the pedestrian-designated sidewalk area and the street curb, or at a bike rack.

To celebrate the launch, new riders can use the code “EASTBAYLIME” to receive their first five LimeBike rides for free.

If anyone sees one of these around or has ridden one, let us all know how the process goes.  I feel like these would be a good option for the last minute ferry runners, a bike would cut down the possibility of missing the boat. LimeBike website is here.



  1. I see some but not oodles of utility with this. Ferry to Spirit Alley and back again, ferry to a rack near home for those of us who occasionally just need a one way ride home. Not being able to rely on bikes always being in a single location seems tricky, but it will be interesting to see whether the invisible hand of the trip market delivers order and reliability.

    Comment by Gaylon — October 6, 2017 @ 6:37 am

  2. Helmets are the weakness here. If I have time to get my helmet from home, I have time to get my bike from home. I suppose one could buy an extra helmet to tote around & use when catching Lime bike but I doubt anyone will actually do that.

    I’m ride almost every day around town (work/errands/exercise) and I NEVER ride without a helmet.

    Comment by dave — October 6, 2017 @ 6:50 am

  3. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville and San Jose have partnered together with the Ford GoBike Program and have bike stations all across their cities:

    They encourage their bikers to use a helmet, but they don’t offer them at their stations.

    Comment by Karen M Bey — October 6, 2017 @ 7:22 am

  4. Folding helmets I read about: Not for sale just yet though. I could imagine them being available in a vending machine or from local merchants near popular bike locations.

    Comment by Spanky McDoogle (@SpankyMcDoogle) — October 6, 2017 @ 9:53 am

  5. Ok here goes…

    The current conventional wisdom regarding biking and the need for helmets is overblown. To me its on the level of “fear of kidnapping”, which leads people to never leave their kids unsupervised by an adult, but isn’t really justified by the statistics. Peope’s fear of biking related head injuries generally tends to lead to less trips by bike.

    I’m doubly less concerned (half-ly concerned?) about wearing a bike helmet when there is GOOD BIKING INFRASTRUCTURE like dedicated bike lanes and paths.

    If I’m doing aggressive road or mountain biking in the hills or on roads where the auto speed limit is ~55 mph, I’ll for sure be wearing a helmet. But if I’m just heading to the store on my grocery getter, beater-bike or some other quick trip, I’m not really concerned with it.

    Think about this – why not wear a helmet every time you get into your car?

    Comment by brock — October 6, 2017 @ 10:46 am

    • The above was supposed to say “Confess Your Unpopular Opinion” at the top…

      Comment by brock — October 6, 2017 @ 10:47 am

      • I’m with you Brock. In the U.S. we are so afraid of anything happening to us, we live very limited and socially restrained lives. It’s too bad. I sat parked illegally on a central provincial Italian city street and watched the ebb and flow for 20 minutes: Cars going by in one direction, the bus in the opposite direction, bicyclists without helmets going in any direction they pleased; motor scooters up on the sidewalk to make deliveries to local businesses, pedestrians all over the place, sidewalk, street, what have you. Nobody freaking out because they had to share street with different forms and modes of transport. Very health and happy place. Have no idea what the incidence of accidents, but obviously most of the folks I observed were not worried.

        Comment by Laura Thomas — October 6, 2017 @ 11:38 am

      • While cars are the primary worry, wiping out at 15-20mph or colliding with another bike can cause serious injury. There are a good number of folks in wheelchairs because of bike accidents.

        Of the countless times I’ve been in a car, only a few have resulted in a crash, but I still wear a seat belt. You are foolish to ride without a helmet.

        Comment by dave — October 6, 2017 @ 2:29 pm

    • I grew up in the 60s. We kids never wore helmets and no one in my neighborhood of 30 or so kids was ever seriously hurt in a bike accident due to not having a helmet. I never saw a helmet until the motocross craze hit. I read a news article several years ago about a guy riding down the Oakland hills on his bike wearing a helmet, wiped out on a corner and ended up a quadriplegic. If someone feels more comfortable riding with a helmet that’s fine, go ahead. But I’m tired of the helmet shaming coming from a small group of the biking community. Get off your high bike and just let people ride. Unlike helmets it’s been proven that the more people on the road riding the safer it is for all riders.

      Comment by RiderX — October 9, 2017 @ 11:30 am

      • People didn’t wear seatbelts back then either. Would a sample size of 30 neighbors not dying in car crashes be sufficient to conclude that they are not necessary?

        Comment by dave — October 9, 2017 @ 12:17 pm

        • My aunt’s bike accident would have been fatal without a helmet. As it was she had to have her jaw wired shut. I know many people ride without helmets but that is their choice, not one that I am going to make.

          Comment by Kevis Brownson — October 9, 2017 @ 8:05 pm

        • I’ve been riding bikes for about 45 years. I have yet to be in an accident where a helmet was a savior. As for research, results are mixed, that’s why this is still being discussed. If bike helmets were as clear a benefit as seatbelts are we would not be discussing this. But unfortunately for your argument it’s not clear that helmet reduce accidents or the severity of injuries in accidents.

          Comment by RiderX — October 18, 2017 @ 5:35 pm

  6. The bikes are pretty easy to access. There is an app you download to your phone, scan the QR code on the back of the bike, it automatically unlocks and off you go. There is a current promotion EASTBAYLIME that will give you 5 free rides. After that it is $1 for 30 minutes. I had the opportunity to test ride one at the kick-off yesterday and i was impressed. the idea that you don’t have to return them to a specific site or dock is a game change I think. I do know that some communities have a little push back on the bikes just being left “anywhere”. Apparently in Australia they like throwing these types of bikes in the river. Hopefully they will do better here.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — October 6, 2017 @ 10:52 am

  7. There are auto race tracks and off-road-vehicle parks that allow people to take their street legal automobiles for a spin. However, if the street legal vehicles don’t have proper reinforced roll-cages, these places make drivers and passengers wear helmets, on top of mandatory seat-belt use. Every facility like this that I know of has this rule, so I assume there is evidence that it increases safety in the event of accidents. Yet no-one wears a helmet in their car when routine driving (or advocates for it)?

    Comment by brock — October 6, 2017 @ 4:42 pm

    • A seat belt is the auto equivalent of a bike helmet.

      Comment by dave — October 6, 2017 @ 7:28 pm

      • An orange is the citrus equivalent of an apple

        Comment by brock — October 7, 2017 @ 9:37 am

        • Go ahead, ride without a helmet. The world needs more organ donors.

          Comment by dave — October 7, 2017 @ 9:45 am

      • Seatbelts are the bike equivalent of, nothing in the bike world.

        Comment by RiderX — October 18, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

        • A seatbelt is a basic safety device that is universally encouraged and often legally mandated. No one thinks it protects against every risk but it is a very useful device that saves many lives and prevents many injuries. It is generally considered foolish to ride without one.

          A bike helmet is a basic safety device that is universally encouraged and often legally mandated. No one thinks it protects against every risk but it is a very useful device that saves many lives and prevents many injuries. It is generally considered foolish to ride without one.

          But perhaps your head is hard enough to not need one…

          Comment by dave — October 19, 2017 @ 6:05 am

  8. How foolish some bikers are. Wait until the first lawsuit after a biker sustains a head injury. They will contend that helmets should have been available. I bet the attorney for the injured biker names the City of Alameda as a deep pocket defendant for allowing it. Great job by our City Attorney.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — October 7, 2017 @ 7:12 am

  9. When you ride a bike you are to some extent at the mercy of bad drivers. When I ride the bike track I forgo a helmet, including the few short blocks to and from the track. If I were a regular commuter riding with automobiles every day I would wear a helmet because I’d be increasing the odds. The statistical odds are probably on the side of not wearing a helmet but you are still playing Russian Roulette with your life. When old Mr.Karma is stalking you, you are throwing the odds, along with caution, out the window or to the wind.

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2017 @ 10:44 am

  10. Here’s more information about the Ford GoBike Program, which is managed under a contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

    The Ford Go Bike program does not include helmets. Riders must provide their own helmets – so Alameda’s bike share program is no different in that respect.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 10, 2017 @ 7:02 am

  11. These Limebikes are being left in random places all over town — in the middle of sidewalks, by the side of the road, etc. It seems hazardous (not to mention that the bikes themselves are an eyesore). More fundamentally, this private company is appropriating our public spaces paid for by our tax dollars for its own profit-making purposes. I’m all for more biking generally, but this seems like a bad solution. Interested to hear others’ opinions.

    Comment by Aaron Rubin — October 16, 2017 @ 9:14 am

    • This is a bit of a problem. I have moved several LimeBikes to the side that were left in the middle of sidewalks blocking them. China has had significant problems with these type of bikes. But I think these problems can be worked out in time. I think the LimeBike program is great.

      Comment by RiderX — October 18, 2017 @ 5:31 pm

      • Frank, it’s a big deal for someone not physically able to move one of these bikes. Maybe check your privilege a little there.

        And basically what you are saying is that, not only are you cool with Limebike taking over our public spaces for their private business, but you are also happy for them to enlist all of us as their unpaid maintenance workers. Doesn’t seem like a good deal to me.

        Comment by Aaron — October 20, 2017 @ 9:32 am

    • Bikes all over town parked illegally. Private property, park grass etc.

      Comment by Retiredteacher — October 19, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

  12. When I see one blocking something I just pick it up and move it out of the way. It is not that big a deal.

    Comment by frank — October 20, 2017 @ 7:23 am

    • Frank, it’s a big deal for someone not physically able to move one of these bikes. Maybe check your privilege a little there.

      And basically what you are saying is that, not only are you cool with Limebike taking over our public spaces for their private business, but you are also happy for them to enlist all of us as their unpaid maintenance workers. Doesn’t seem like a good deal to me.

      Comment by Aaron — October 20, 2017 @ 9:32 am

    • I shouldn’t have to, and can’t, move 4 bikes to walk down the sidewalk.

      Comment by Retiredteacher — October 20, 2017 @ 5:44 pm

  13. Like I said “When I see one” I NEVER tell others what they must do. I’m pushing 69 years old and it still is no big deal for me. There are a lot of things in life that people shouldn’t have to do but some do them anyway.

    Comment by frank — October 20, 2017 @ 5:53 pm

    • Age has nothing to do with being in a wheelchair, or a power chair, or having to use a walker or crutches. We still have to be able to use a public thoroughfare! It is because of attitudes like Frank’s that we needed an Americans With Disabilities act. No disability votes for you.

      Comment by vigi — October 21, 2017 @ 1:41 pm

      • OK Vigi the next time I see one blocking the road I will just leave it there. You win!!!

        Comment by frank — October 21, 2017 @ 6:09 pm

        • Unclear on the concept, Frank. I sincerely hope you never get hit by a car as I was, or fall and break your hip. I see more and more people pushing walkers around town these days. We need support, not sarcasm. Some people refuse to believe it until it happens to them.

          Comment by vigi — October 22, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

  14. I just found this article on Limebike. They are a start up, and they just raised $50M to go nationwide. They are backed by some great investors: (Franklin Templeton Investments, AME Cloud Ventures, Stanford’s StartX Fund, Andreessen Horowitz and DCM Ventures).

    The dockless concept is definately growing!

    The article also says they are starting to look at how to better manage their inventory — so look to see how they address these issues!

    Comment by Karen M Bey — October 22, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

  15. A discussion of some policy approaches elsewhere:

    Comment by Sprite — October 23, 2017 @ 6:52 am

  16. Actually Vigi in 2001 I fell off a cliff on a 14000 Mountain in the Himalaya and split the ball of my Femur in two. It was shortly after 911 and my surgery was done in India where three screws were inserted into my hip. Since this was not a Hip Transplant it took and extended period of time for the bone to fuse back together. This is EXACTLY the reason why when I see a bike or another object blocking egress I remove it.

    Comment by frank — October 23, 2017 @ 8:24 am

    • Well, thanks for sharing. Mine was not as glamorous–just crossing the street at Columbus and Green in SF. I have had five spine surgeries since. [My current spine surgeon is from India. He goes back to India every year to do free scoliosis surgeries on the poor. He is great!]

      But this is a good issue for discussion. At Walgreens yesterday, there were 2 LimeBikes parked blocking the entrance [by two 12-year-old boys inside the store]. I got to thinking: what about blind pedestrians? Problematic for them, too.

      Comment by vigi — October 23, 2017 @ 10:44 am

      • By not providing a legitimate place to park them, stations,they are opening themselves up to some serious lawsuits. Every other town that has them has docking stations, I believe. That would make the city liable too for allowing it. And the entrance to Walgreens is the only fire exit.

        Comment by Retiredteacher — October 25, 2017 @ 7:42 am

  17. Limebikes are for the Youth!!

    Comment by Rasheed — October 23, 2017 @ 12:05 pm

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