Lime bikes have been whizzing around Ithaca’s streets since 2018, a bright green contrast to the white that blankets the area. Now, legislative efforts at the state level might bolster the pilot program with the addition of electric bikes and scooters.
Around the nation, the rapid proliferation of e-bikes and e-scooters has been met with controversy, with proponents emphasizing their affordability and sustainability and critics raising concerns about the associated injuries and hazardous conditions. E-bikes and e-scooters are augmented with battery powered motors that ease the difficulties of riding up hills or inclement weather.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.) included legislation in his FY 2021 Executive Budget earlier this January that would allow localities to adopt these innovative transportation methods — provided that basic safety regulations were met.
This update leaves Lime’s future in Ithaca open.
According to the Ithaca Voice, a previously tabled resolution could return to the Ithaca Common Council’s agenda as early as April’s meeting. This resolution could approve the introduction of e-scooters and e-bikes in addition to the lime bike program already in Ithaca.
After the green bicycles were first introduced in Ithaca in March 2018, the University critiqued the potential for even the non-electric bikes to become hazardous in an April 2019 press release. Members of the Cornell community cited fears about losing parking space, a common occurrence where bikes litter cities that have approved them. A proposal to introduce Lime’s e-scooter was met with concern from the Common Council, and the resolution was tabled in June 2019.
Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, though, has been a vocal supporter of e-bikes and e-scooters, sending a letter to Cuomo and state legislature leadership in June 2019, urging them to legalize the sustainable transportation.
“I see a future where on any city block, you see some people walking, some people biking, some people using lime scooters, some people using Uber and some people using TCAT,” Myrick previously stated. “Part of my shtick has always been helping people get around more quickly, efficiently and more environmentally friendly.”
The Mayor’s Office, Common Council, Bike Walk Tompkins and the Operations Manager for Lime in Ithaca did not respond to The Sun’s request for comment at the time of publication.