Look for the Green Bikes — Lime Bike Share Company Comes to Watertown

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Lime bikes arrived in Watertown Friday. Riders can locate and rent a bike using the Lime mobile app and leave it where they want.

Lime bikes arrived in Watertown Friday. Riders can locate and rent a bike using the Lime mobile app and leave it where they want.

A fleet of 200 bright green bicycles arrives in Watertown on Friday. These bicycles are part of the town’s first bikeshare program, run by Lime.

Unlike the bikeshares in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, Lime operates a dockless bike program.

“Lime is thrilled to bring our dock-free smart bikes to Arlington and Watertown. Many of the communities north of Boston have now added our affordable, green transportation option for everyone to enjoy,” said Scott Mullen, Lime Director of Expansion, New England.

The entire Lime fleet of bikes is GPS and 3G-enabled, allowing riders to find, unlock and pick up a bike or scooter using their smartphones. When their ride is complete, the rider can end the ride with the Limm app and park it or leave it in a bike rack. The app is available at the iPhone App Store or GooglePlay.

The company also started operating in Arlington this week, and the communities the fifth and sixth to launch Lime in the area since April. According to its website, Lime will operate in more than a dozen communities around Boston, including Belmont, Waltham and Newton.

The Town teamed up with other communities to submit a joint bid for bikesharing programs through the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Lime was one of two companies selected.

“Watertown is pleased to be part of this bike-sharing network of 15 communities. Bikesharing is a great tool to help reduce the number of car trips throughout the Town, thereby reducing congestion and pollution,” said Steve Magoon, Assistant Town Manager and Director of Community Development and Planning of Watertown. “It also promotes a great means of active transportation.”

In the launch announcement, Lime said the bikes can be used on the growing network of bike paths in Metro Boston.

“Our expansion complements the Emerald Network, a growing system of off-road bike paths connecting communities, and allows stress-free travel throughout the region,” Mullen said. “The Arlington and Watertown paths will soon be joined through the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway– a critical piece of the broader network.”

The service will provide a nice alternative for residents, said Andy Compagna, chair of the Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee.

“The arrival of Lime Bike will increase the population of cyclists who want a convenient, maintenance-free option and will serve as a great complement to the evolving cycling infrastructure here in Watertown,” Compagna said. “Benefits to all Watertown residents will include a reduction in short car trips, increase in environmental quality and overall personal health. We welcome Lime bike to Watertown and look forward to working with them.”

The introduction of Lime was also welcomed by officials at athenahealth, which will host bikes at its headquarters on Arsenal Street in Watertown.

“After five years of waiting for bikeshare services, athenahealth is excited to welcome LimeBike to Watertown and the Arsenal on the Charles campus,” said Bridger McGaw, director of Global Security & Services at athenahealth. “Our employees and tenants are excited to be able use LimeBike during their business day to provide a healthy alternative to explore the Charles River and the many local Watertown businesses throughout the area. We hope other riders will find their way to our campus to enjoy the theater and restaurants here as well.”

Those hoping to use Lime bikes to go into Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline may run into some hitches. Watertown Transportation Planner Laura Wiener said the company that runs the bike share in those communities, BlueBikes (formerly Hubway), has an exclusive agreement, and the communities invested thousands of dollars to install the docking stations.

“They don’t want dockless bikes in their communities,” Wiener said. “If you ride in (on a Lime bike), you can’t be guaranteed to ride the bike home. You may have to take the T home.”

Lime operates in more than 70 communities from coast to coast, at more than 15 college campuses (including Holy Cross) and in several German cities.

The company is offering a $5 credit for those wishing to use its bike buy using the  promo code: LIMELAUNCH.

13 thoughts on “Look for the Green Bikes — Lime Bike Share Company Comes to Watertown

  1. These bikes are all over San Diego abandoned anywhere the rider chooses, and the company never comes to pick them up. They are left in the middle of sidewalks, driveways, street corners, and they don’t come and pick them up when people have called the company. Good Luck.

  2. According to the article you can’t use them if you want to travel into Cambridge or Boston – the prime locations to travel by bike from Watertown. Not very helpful.

    • Actually you can, but you’re not supposed to as Cambridge and Boston (also Brookline and Somerville), have exclusive contracts with Blue Bike/Hub Way.

      Regardless of the rules, I fully anticipate seeing the Lime Bikes parked outside the Star Market on Mt. Auburn St and Western Ave, as well as the Stop and Shop in Allston (and who knows where else they’re not supposed to be).

      Hopefully there’s some kind of pain free way to report the abusers to the relevant cities so the bikes can be removed.

  3. I took a drive up and down Mt. Auburn St and Arsenal St. yesterday and already
    these things are an eyesore and blight on the town, and it will only get worse as users
    leave them abandoned anywhere they please. It’s only a matter of time before they end
    up in the Charles River, yards, street corners, parking spaces etc.

    Just Google around and you’ll find communities experiencing all sorts of problems with these and the companies that operate them.

    One thing I noticed right off the bat, is that the people who delivered and parked them placed them at a number of public bike racks (in groups of 3-5), resulting in residents
    that own a bike being unable to use the racks.

    I also have little doubt that the introduction of these bikes will somehow be used as another excuse for the reduction of Mt. Auburn St. from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes in order to accommodate bicyclists.

    Unfortunately these things are spreading like cancer from community to community
    and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.

    • Really? A low-carbon, health-improving, mood-boosting, foot-powered commuter mechanism and childhood freedom tool — “spreading like cancer?”

      If bikes are a fatal disease, it’s one we all might want to catch.

      • Actually bikes are a life giving phenomenon in many senses. I think that Mr. Fortin’s perspective is quite jaundiced and pessimistic.

        The valid point that he makes is that Green bikes should not crowd out commuter owned bikes at bike racks in town. But that ought to be fixed by providing more bike racks.

  4. and think about it–if you go to shop at one of the stores around town, or nearby towns, you’d probably want to return home with your purchases in the nice little baskets on the Lime Bikes –esp if you take your own bags and a bungee strap. I wonder how you’d make sure “your” bike was there when you came out of a store, or shop, ready to go further, or go home. It takes time for people to successfully utilize a new idea–let’s stay positive at the roll-out! We should all want it to work. It’s the local transportation of the future and will help all of us.

  5. Here is my concern. People who use these bikes probably don’t have one of there own.
    1. Do they know the rules of the road?
    2. What about bike helmets?
    I already was at a light and one ran a red light.

    I am all for bikes but I have grave concerns about this. Someone said there haven’t been any deaths yet but what about injuries. Are there stats on that?

    • I disagree with this statement – I own a bike and I am happy to use LimeBikes for one-way trips where I can’t or don’t want to use my own. And the helmet and “rules-of-the-road” issues are the same whether people are bikesharing or riding their own bikes. Again, how about emphasizing the positive aspects of this new service, instead of using non-sequitur arguments to dismiss it?

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