Davis votes to bring back electric bikes and scooters after banning during pandemic


Electric bikes and scooters may be returning to Davis.

The City Council has voted to pave the way for a pilot program that would bring rental e-bikes back this fall along with e-scooters. But UC Davis still needs to approve the plan.

The city of Davis banned e-scooters four years ago after residents complained users were abandoning them all over town. There haven’t been e-bikes in Davis since rental company Jump, which was purchased by Lime, ceased operations due to the pandemic.

Kirk Trost works with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, or SACOG, the lead agency for regional bike-share programs. He told council members this week Lime is operating in Sacramento and West Sacramento and wants to work with the city of Davis, and the company will fine users if they violate parking rules.

“If it’s not working to your satisfaction, you have the ability to say, ‘No, SACOG, terminate this agreement — and we will,” Trost told City Council.

Jennifer Donofrio, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, says the problem with the former Jump-operated system was that the workers responsible for moving abandoned bikes were based miles away in West Sacramento.

“They would get the call, or the email, to say that there’s a bike. And then they would have to travel all the way across the Causeway into Davis,” she said.

Donofrio says Lime will have workers in Davis and says they will be “moving those bikes within 90 minutes, but also being proactive.”

The city’s pilot project could include 500 e-bikes and 300-e-scooters — the prospect of which did not necessarily sit well with all council members.

“For me, the volume of bikes that were in this proposal kind of gave me some heart … talking about 800 vehicles being burn basically overnight into Davis,” Council member Josh Chapman said.

Trost with SACOG says that Lime insists it will be vigilant and active. “You should expect them to be the very same good partner with you,” he said, adding that “over the winter months, we pulled hundreds of bikes off the Sacramento/West Sacramento market because they just weren’t being used.”

The pilot program got the green light from the city — but is not a done-deal yet: The next step is for UC Davis to sign-off on allowing rental bikes and scooters on campus.


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