Dockless Bikes are Coming to Rockaway

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Dockless bikes are scheduled to start appearing in Rockaway, in a series of deliveries over the month of July. In May 2018, Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation announced a summer pilot program for dockless bikes in Coney Island, the Fordham Area of the Bronx, the North Shore of Staten Island, and the Rockaways. On July 2nd, DOT selected two companies, Lime Bikes, and Pace Bikes, to provide their service to the Rockaways. Dockless bikes are rented and shared like CitiBikes, but instead of checking them in or out of fixed docks, users can simply leave them to leave them wherever they’re done riding. Each bike has a built-in, app-activated lock, and access typically costs $1-$2 for 30 minutes of riding. Bikes are slated to start arriving at the Rockaways throughout July, with the goal of distributing 200 total. Some of the bikes will be (recently legalized) electric “pedal-assist” bikes, which provide an extra boost of speed and power for riders.

The pilot program may be an important first step towards bringing innovative, inexpensive transportation options to the neighborhoods least serviced by NYC public transit. In May, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. expressed support for the program and Rockaway’s inclusion, thanking city administration for “enabling our residents to expand their enjoyment of the peninsula and its boardwalk.” It’s not yet clear where in the area the bikes will be dropped off, or if most will be along the boardwalk originally, but the idea is that they will gradually spread as people use them.

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200 new dockless bikes will start arriving in July

The pilot program was stalled earlier this month in Coney Island over community concerns about abandoned bikes becoming nuisances along the boardwalk. Far Rockaway residents interviewed by the Advocate responded in general with positive feedback about the bikes; naming benefits such as exercise, making it easier to get around, riding along the boardwalk (especially during MTA’s planned work on the A Train), helping people who don’t own cars. One resident brought up concerns about abuse of the program (including theft of the bikes) but agreed that the bikes could be overall positive for the Rockaways.