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Sep 9, 2019 11:16 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

PedalShare Could Cruise Into East Hampton Village Next Spring

Chris Dimon demonstrates the app for PedalShare. DANA SHAW
Sep 10, 2019 1:59 PM

Chris Dimon and Patrick O’Donoghue, Southampton natives and the founders of PedalShare, have introduced the first bike-sharing program to the East End, one that is similar to the ubiquitous Citi Bike in Manhattan. So far, they have been successful in Westhampton Beach and Southampton Village — and now they have hopes of cruising into East Hampton Village next spring.

Mr. Dimon presented his idea to the East Hampton Village Board at a work session on Friday, and it received a unanimous go-ahead.

“Sounds exciting. Let’s go for it,” Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said before the end of the meeting.

The bike racks would be placed at Main Beach, the train station, the long-term parking lot, Village Hall and Egypt Beach in East Hampton Village.

Users would have to download an app to their cellphones and sign up for PedalShare. They would pay $4 an hour, or $35 for the day, or choose a yearly membership with an unlimited number of one-hour rides for $59. They then would choose a bike, unlock it via the app and take off. The bikes would be returned to one of the several racks throughout the village.

“The only thing that is really required is cellphone service itself,” Mr. Dimon told the board, adding that the bike locks are released through Bluetooth. The service can monitor where the bikes are, and which stations are being used most frequently, as well as where bike-sharers are riding.

Signs at the rack provide information about how to download the app and rent the bike, and about cycling laws within the village, including where to ride — biking on Newtown Lane and Main Street is prohibited, for instance. A map on the app also gives riders information about where they are allowed to ride.

Mr. Dimon explained that bike share programs are the newest models in “first- and last-mile transportation” — getting people to and from public transportation options and providing eco-friendly alternatives to driving, especially with the addition of the South Fork Commuter Connection train.

He and Mr. O’Donoghue received permission in 2018 to start the PedalShare program in Southampton Village with 20 bicycles and five parking stations. In recent weeks, they were given the go-ahead to place bikes throughout the Village of Westhampton Beach as well.

“We currently have 40 bikes and over 450 users throughout our system,” Mr. Dimon told the board as members flipped through a PowerPoint presentation he provided.

In Southampton, PedalShare has stations at Agawam Park, Coopers Beach, Gin Lane Beach, the train station and Butler’s Manor, a bed-and-breakfast.

Mr. Rickenbach asked if Mr. Dimon could offer a rate of success or failure for the bike share system in the other villages. In Southampton Village, the mayor was told, they’ve had over 400 bikes used.

“We just launched in Westhampton two weeks ago, and we’ve had very good ridership,” Mr. Dimon said, adding that people are still learning that the bikes are there and that, so far, they’ve had no issues or incidents.

“My vision is, I would like to have a helmet on the head of anyone who would rent that bike — for their own safety,” Mr. Rickenbach said.

Mr. Dimon said there really is no way to make sure that riders wear helmets, and that the program hasn’t provided helmets, mainly for sanitary reasons.

Village Police Chief Michael Tracey noted that the law requires anyone under the age of 14 to wear a helmet, but that otherwise the village doesn’t have a specific law regarding helmets.

“I think it’s great,” board member Barbara Borsack said of the program.

“What happens when someone wants to return a bike to the rack and the rack is full?” board member Richard Lawler wanted to know. Mr. Dimon answered that there is geo-fencing around the rack, allowing people to leave their bikes near the rack and lock them up. The next morning, PedalShare reallocates the bikes to make sure they are evenly distributed.

“We haven’t experienced them lying on the ground … people do try to place them nicely,” Mr. Dimon said.

Mr. Lawler said there are several areas in East Hampton Village that lack adequate cellphone service, including some of the popular beaches — Georgica Beach in particular, he said. “What happens when someone takes a bike into an area with no cell phone service?” he asked.

Mr. Dimon said that if cellphone service becomes an issue, he is able to go in through the back end of the app and end a ride. In addition, he said he is trying to install cell service boosters at his racks, because with no service, people won’t be able to log into the app and rent a bike.

Mr. Dimon said introducing the bike share to East Hampton would cost the village absolutely nothing, adding that PedalShare will provide its own insurance.

Before the conversation ended, board member Rose Brown said that ridership on the Long Island Rail Road from March1 to July 31 had increased from 11,000 to 24,000 over last year. She attributed that to the Commuter Connection, adding that she’s seen a lot of people using the train and walking to work or taking the coordinated shuttle bus.

“I could see people utilizing this service as well,” Ms. Brown said.

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Can't wait to see the NIMBYs hate on this one. Get your popcorn ready.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Sep 10, 19 12:27 PM
I'll give the anti-bicycle crowd their talking points for them, please elaborate on the following absurd and untrue points for comic relief.

Cyclists don't pay gasoline taxes when they are riding a bicycle. Cyclists don't follow traffic laws. Cyclists are young and privledged. Cyclists are undocumented immigrants. Cycling causes worse traffic. Cycling is dangerous. Cycling doesn't contribute enough financially to US companies that produce SUV's and petroleum.

Some motorists ...more
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Sep 10, 19 12:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not only do I have to listen to the helicopters and planes flying over my house, now I'll have to deal with the incessant whizzing of bikes with their clicking gears and squeaky caliper brakes!
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Sep 12, 19 11:09 AM
Cyclists make funny noises when you roll coal next to them. The hacking, coughing and soot are hilarious. Oh and they don't follow traffic laws. Meh.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Sep 16, 19 3:15 PM
Preliator -- it is SO COOL to have a vehicle that can roll coal. Do you also have a farty muffler?
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Sep 16, 19 3:55 PM
In the near future the LIPA right of ways dirt roads along the power lines thruout Suffolk County will be improved and available for people on bicycles and ebikes for safe and enjoyable recreation, commuting and healthy exercise between all towns. Hamptons Active Transportation Plan advocates that plus other sustainable initiatives.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Sep 11, 19 10:37 AM