It's now even easier to pedal around the Westside thanks to the expansion of the city's Breeze Bike Share system and the arrival of a new electric dockless bike-share company called LimeBike.
Breeze Bike Share, sponsored by hulu, expanded late last month to combine with Beverly Hills Bike Share, WeHo Pedals Bike Share and UCLA's Bruin Bike share to form one seamless network available to Santa Monicans and visitors alike.
The network covers a 35-square-mile area with 135 stations and 830 GPS-connected "Smart Bikes" equipped with an integrated computer and locking mechanism. The network is a "dock-option" system, which allows users to find available bikes at stations or out-of-hub using the Social Bicycles app, and to lock up at designated stations or any public bike rack.
Existing users of the Breeze Bike Share, Beverly Hills Bike Share, WeHo Pedals Bike Share, or Bruin Bike Share programs automatically have access to the Bike Share Connect network.
New users can join the network by downloading the Social Bicycles mobile app, selecting the Bike Share Connect network, and choosing a payment plan. Residents, commuters, or visitors without a smartphone or internet access can create an account at any time at one of the 16 self-service kiosks in the network. Once a member, users enter their phone number or six-digit account number and their four-digit PIN on the back of the bike to unlock bike in the system.
Consistent pricing throughout the network makes it easy for users to access the system. Prices did not increase with the launch of this expanded network – giving users access to more bikes in more places for the same price.
To date, the Breeze Bike Share system alone has attracted over 87,000 subscribers, who have ridden 1,523,726 miles on over 690,000 trips. Once combined with Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and UCLA, even more people will have access to bike share and be empowered to travel farther.
City Council approved the bike share regional integration at its Nov. 14, 2017 meeting.
After recently rolling out their electric bikes in Seattle and San Diego, LimeBike late last month dropped dozens of their electric-powered Lime-E bikes all across Downtown Santa Monica. They cost just $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute of riding.
"As one of the most highly trafficked areas in L.A., Santa Monica is a great fit for LimeBike," said Thomas Lord, LimeBike's general manager for the L.A. area. "With our electric bikes, we hope to provide an affordable transportation option, alleviate congestion, improve urban mobility, and transform the future of transportation for all of L.A."
L.A. is cited as having the world's worst traffic congestion, with Santa Monica topping the list of U.S. cities with the worst traffic, largely due to the fact that the majority of its residents drive for their daily commute.
Last year alone, congested roads cost U.S. motorists almost $300 billion in wasted time and fuel.
"As Santa Monica continues to grow, we believe our [bikes] can help reduce traffic congestion by offering a mobility solution for shorter-distance trips," Lord said.
All LimeBikes and scooters are GPS and 3G-enabled, making it simple for riders to find, unlock and pick up a nearby vehicle using their smartphone. When the ride is finished, riders simply end the ride with the LimeBike mobile app and responsibly park by the street curb, or at a bike rack.
A portion of this article was repurposed from a City of Santa Monica press release.