The City Council of West Hollywood is going to reconsider the usage of electric bikes around the areas. Ever since the pandemic has hit the world, there have been numerous changes in all the day to day activities of the people, one of these is the introduction of electric scooters in several places across the globe. The West Hollywood city council will try out a program for dockless electric bikes on the city streets.
In the previous year, the council had tried out a similar program with WeHo Pedals bikes. In this program, the bikes would be parked at specified locations on the sidewalks, and riders could pick up the bikes from the dock positions and drop them off later. However, due to the necessity of having to pick up and drop off the bikes to specific locations, most people did not enjoy the service a lot, and thus the program failed.
The city is now looking for a dockless electric bike that comes along with ‘pedal assist’. They are hoping that these bikes will be a perfect fit for the program. Pedal-assist bikes are the ones that come along with a motor that helps the wheels to move until the user has reached a speed of 20 miles per hour. However, the city council got zero responses from potentially bike companies to work on this project when they put out a notice back in May. The companies complained that the amount that they were planning to charge was quite high. The city is now looking to bring out the same project but with a smaller fee and thus hoping to see a better response from firms this time.
The city’s planning and development department have heard back from a few popular companies who might be ready to work on the project. Currently, the responders include Jump, Bird, Lime, and Wheels. Amongst these four, Jump and Bird are ready to offer electric pedal assist bikes, but Lime offered electric scooters which the city has already banned.
But COVID 19 slowed down all processes and projects across all industries, and thus Jump informed the council that they wouldn’t be able to bring the bikes to market until Fall 2020. Bird also reached back to the council and told them that their productions had slowed down because of disruption in imports from China.
The city has announced through a memo that their pilot program for pedal-assist bikes is currently on hold, and they are looking at other options for mobility assistance. These options include e-scooters and throttle assist bikes, which might be available in the market. The council is also looking at the idea of multiple companies providing bikes to fulfill the city’s current needs while the council looks for other viable alternatives.
The memo goes over some key points stating, “scooters are not accessible to all riders, as they can be difficult to maneuver for some users. Scooters can have their speed regulated to avoid fast-moving use but are not permitted to be on the sidewalk in West Hollywood.” The memo also noted that “There is a different physical demand for scooters than bikes, appealing to a different type of riders.”Source
The introduction of e-scooters and bikes will help the city achieve its climate goals action plan for the year since it produces zero emissions and is a much eco-friendly alternative.