By Julie McCay Turner
Town officials and local cycling enthusiasts launched Lime, a dockless bike share program, at Depot Park on Tuesday morning, July 31. Bedford is the 9th town in a 15-location regional rollout to adopt the program. Lime is a pilot project for Bedford, organized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), with a goal of offering support for short errands, access to public transit, and recreational activities.
Speaking at the launch, Town Manager Rick Reed praised the program for helping to fulfill the Town’s goal of providing residents with healthy options for walking and biking. He introduced Selectman Margot Fleischman, an inveterate cyclist, as the champion for bringing the program to Bedford.
Fleischman noted that Lime bicycles are intended to break down barriers to cycling that residents may hold as mental models. “You don’t need to wear spandex,” Fleischman said, “and you can even ride in high heels,” she added pointing to her shoes, the same ones she wore riding her own bike from home to the 9 am launch.
Later Selectman Fleischman added that Lime bicycles offer “multimodal” transportation options since they can be ridden to nearby transportation hubs, or borrowed in one town and returned in another in Bedford’s network. Towns, where bikes can be dropped off (or borrowed for a return trip to Bedford!), include Arlington, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Bedford’s Economic Development Director Alyssa Sandoval, whose office will monitor the program, noted that in the first two days 13 riders logged 18.1 miles in 15 rides.
Clusters of the distinctive bright green bikes with yellow fenders have begun to appear around Bedford. During the program’s first phase, Lime bikes gradually will be located on town-owned land at Depot Park and next to Memorial Park, near the end of the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail; in the municipal complex near the Library and Town Hall; at Ashby Place; in the parking areas at Springs Brook Park and the soccer field on South Road; at the intersection of the Reformatory Branch trail and Concord Road; and at the Carlisle Road boat landing. You can check the Lime app before heading out to make sure there is a bike at these locations.
According to the Town’s website, “Riders are encouraged to park bikes at or near existing bike rack locations or in the above-named areas. Bedford in collaboration with Lime will review and evaluate trip data to add to and/or refine the parking locations over time.”
Lime’s smartphone app is an easy download from the AppStore, and set up seemed instantaneous. Using your phone’s location, the app will locate and facilitate rental of available bikes in Bedford, or in other communities participating in the program.