What’s better than a bike ride near the beach in the summer? New Yorkers can do just that without even owning a bicycle themselves with dockless bikes in the Rockaways now a reality, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.
This marks the first-ever dockless bike share in New York City, though dockless bikes will come to the Bronx, Staten Island and Coney Island later on as part of a pilot to bring bike shares to the outer boroughs.
“In terms of making this a place people can move around more easily and enjoy all the wonderful aspects of, this announcement today is real step forward,” de Blasio said at a news conference at Rockaway Beach Boardwalk on Friday
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How many dockless bikes will be available in the Rockaways?
New Yorkers can hop on Lime or Pace dockless bikes in the Rockaways, paying $1 for a 30-minute ride.
Pace will offer 50 bikes beginning Friday, July 13, with a total of 200 bicycles available within a week. Lime, which will offer both regular and pedal-assist dockless bikes in the Rockaways, is introducing 100 regular bikes beginning July 13 and will add 100 pedal-assist bikes after July 28.
How to use dockless bikes in the Rockaways
Before you can ride around on dockless bike in the Rockaways, you need to first download the dockless bike share apps on your mobile phone. You must remain within the Rockaways pilot area while on one of the dockless bikes, and when done your bicycle ride, you’ll have to follow the company’s instructions to lock it up.
Since dockless bike shares do not have docking stations, like Citi Bike, you can leave them wherever you end your ride — though there are a few guidelines. The city is reminding people to be sure they leave their dockless bikes in the Rockaways at locations that are “safe and accessible to future riders.”
“The bikes should be parked in a bike rack or on the sidewalk – in line with other street furniture,” according to the mayor’s office. “Bikes should never be left in the street nor should they be parked on the Boardwalk, blocking sidewalks, intersections, doorways, ramps, or driveways.”
Pace dockless bikes have a two-part locking mechanism, Pace Expansion Manager David Reed explained, and the company does require that you lock their bikes to something — “Bike racks, sign posts, whatever is legal in the city,” he said — to make sure sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways remain clear.
Dockless bikes in the Rockaways: Bringing Transit Equity to Queens
With dockless bike share in New York City kicking off in this particular Queens neighborhood, it shows an effort from city officials to make things more fair, the mayor said.
“The whole concept of our administration is to make sure what’s good enough for Manhattan is good enough for the Rockaways as well. Something like this, an amenity like this reaches every kind of New Yorker, and that to me is the basic idea of fairness,” de Blasio said.
New York City Council Member Donovan Richards, a lifelong resident of Southeast Queens and the Rockaways, said that too often the Rockaways community has been last when it comes city amenities. But now, it’s first in terms of dockless bike share in New York City.
Not only will dockless bikes in the Rockaways offer more transit options for residents and visitors alike, the pilot program is part of the city’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly.
“Part of that puzzle is getting people out of their cars, and the only way you can do that is with transit options,” Richards said. “Whether ferry service, good running MTA service — we’re working on that — and then obviously bike share is another big piece of that as well.”
The mayor added that he hopes dockless bikes in the Rockaways can take some pressure off the subway system and get more people off of the roads.
“This is the future of New York City,” he said. “All different kinds of ways of getting around.”