Bicycle Race: Dockless bike sharing cruises into Montgomery Co.

WASHINGTON — Barring any mishaps Wednesday night, there are 240 lime green-colored bikes available Thursday for sharing in Silver Spring, Maryland.

LimeBike is making Montgomery County the first suburban jurisdiction in the nation to have a dockless bike sharing system, according to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. LimeBike and Mobike are already rolling through D.C. streets, and dockless bike sharing is quickly expanding in cities across the country.

“We have really enhanced our bicycle infrastructure and been recognized as being a very bike-friendly community,” said Esther Bowring, communications manager for the county’s Department of Transportation. “As part of their agreement, we have developed a demonstration area in Silver Spring where they can position the bikes,” Bowring added.

LimeBike joins Capital Bikeshare, which has 70 stations in Montgomery County and also operates in D.C. and Northern Virginia. But dockless bike sharing doesn’t use fixed stations. Instead, the bikes are parked on public property for easy access with a bike-share app, which unlocks the bike and processes the charge.

“What ultimately we see is the ability to have regional systems where people can ride across community boundaries if that helps serve their mobility needs,” said LimeBike Vice President Andrew Savage.

LimeBike says since launching in D.C., users have already taken more than 19,000 rides on its bikes.

Montgomery County has reached agreement with two other dockless bike companies — Mobike and Ofo — to deploy their bikes in the county. All three dockless bike sharing companies will take part in a six-month demonstration, which can be extended.

Ofo’s bikes are expected to be available Friday for use in Silver Spring.

WTOP’s Jeff Clabaugh contributed to this story.


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