Everything You Want to Know About Ithaca’s Bike Share

(view more articles in SOS Tompkins Weekly)

Tompkins Weekly       6-11-18

By Maggie McAden

Ithaca’s new bike share program has launched, meaning that there are now over 200 bikes available to the public for rent. Bike Walk Tompkins and the City of Ithaca worked with LimeBike, a for-profit tech mobility company, to bring the dockless bike system to town. The bikes are typically $1 per ride.

But how does this work? What are the rules of dockless bikes?

Everything You Want to Know About Ithaca’s Bike Share But Were Too Afraid to Ask

1. How do you use it?
A) Download the LimeBike app in the App Store (for your iPhone), or on Google Play (for an Android phone)
B) Register with your cell phone number or through your Facebook account
C) Hit “Unlock” and scan the QR code in the back of the bike you want
D) Manually lock the bike at the end of your trip
(Source: LimeBike Cheat Sheet)

LibeBikes bear instructions for unlocking and use. Photo by Maggie McAden.

2. How much does it cost?
The first ride is free, and after that, it only costs $1 per 30-minute ride. Rides are only $0.50 for students and people with .edu e-mail addresses and people receiving government assistance. People receiving government assistance can also participate in a program called LimeAccess, which allows them to purchase 100 rides for $5. Steps to participate in this program can be found at limebike.com/community-impact.

3. How do I park it?
You can park it anywhere in the City of Ithaca, as long as it is next to or parked at a public bike rack, or in the spaces between trees on the sidewalk. You can also park it on university campuses, as long as it is next to or parked at a public bike rack!

4. Are there memberships as well?  
Yes. There are several options for memberships. A monthly pass, worth 100 rides, is $29.95 for regular users, $14.95 for .edu users, and $5 for Lime Access users.

5. Do you have to wear a helmet?
Although helmets are recommended, there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet in Tompkins County or in the City of Ithaca. However, kids aged 13 years and under must wear a helmet.

6. How old do you have to be to use the bikes?
There’s no age requirement for the bikes.

7. How far can you ride a lime bike?
The bikes should stay on university campuses or within the City of Ithaca.

8. Can I put a bike on the bus?
Nope! However, there are over 200 bikes throughout the City of Ithaca, and so if you need to get up a hill, take the TCAT and there will likely be a bike near you at the top of the hill!

9. Can one account take out several bikes at once with the same account?
Nope! This is not a feature that LimeBike currently offers.

10. Do you need a credit card and a smartphone to use a LimeBike?
Right now, you do. However, LimeBike is in the process of creating a nationwide access program, LimeAccess, to offer discounted fares for people who receive government assistance (e.g. SNAP benefits.) LimeAccess users will be able to pay in cash at PayNearMe locations or use a regular cellphone instead of a smartphone.

Got more questions? Read more on the new system at Bike Walk Tompkins.

Corrections, courtesy of Bike Walk Tompkins:

  • An .edu email address is the only qualification for $0.50 rides; receiving government assistance is not.
  • The minimum age for usage is 14 and older with parental approval, and 18 and older without parental approval.
  • LimeBikes can be ridden outside of the City of Ithaca.
  • LimeAccess is now available, and users can sign up for at the Bike Walk Tompkins/Ithaca Carshare office in the Dewitt Mall Monday through Friday, 12-5 PM.

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