Calgary’s new bike-share program faces winter test

Calgarians seem to like the city’s new dockless electric bike program — at least when the weather cooperates.

Lime, who operates the pilot project, said that 2,769 riders tried out the bikes in the first week.

The 375 electric pedal bikes are rented through Lime’s app and do not need to be returned to a charging base. Instead, Lime sends out crews to pick up bikes and charge them, trying not to let any of them hit below a 40 per cent charge.

There were some growing pains over the first few days of the project, which the company said is to be expected. Scott Harvey, operations manager of Lime Calgary, said four bikes were taken out of commission because of vandalism. Sometimes, people try to salvage parts, Harvey said.

“Often times people are trying to gain themselves a free electric bike or maybe recycle the battery,” said Harvey. “But all the components of the bike work together and once they’re separated from each other they become useless.”

Lime electric bikes outside of Calgary City Hall.

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The Lime-E Electric-Assist Bikes will still be available throughout the winter and Lime is expecting ridership to rise and fall with the temperature.

“We’re going to want to continue to see growth,” Harvey said. “With the snow happening, we won’t see those numbers, but as the weather improves, we’ll see that trend continue.”

Besides dressing in layers during the colder days, Calgarians will also need helmets. Lime has already given away 120 helmets during its launch and will be holding events throughout the season with more safety gear giveaways. But if you’re not lucky enough to grab a free helmet, you’ll have to provide your own.

Transportation Alberta states that anyone riding a “power-assisted bicycle” must wear a helmet, even if they are over the age of 18.

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