KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Electric bike shares are coming to Knoxville!
Only electric scooters from LINK and Bird are currently available to rent in Knoxville, but e-bikes from both vendors will soon be deployed for public use, according to a press release from the city.
The new permits with LINK and Bird include plans to install electric bike shares and parking corrals to reduce overnight scooter clutter.
"We are excited to offer a new option for ways we can move around the City with the addition of e-bikes to Knoxville,” Knoxville's Policy and Business Innovation Manager Carter Hall said. “We've heard from residents that they've missed the bike share option in Knoxville, and we are happy to bring it back with even more updated options."
Tasha Nielsen and Haresh Mirani both like getting around the city on two wheels.
"I downloaded the app, hopped on one, and just been exploring the city,” said Tasha Nielson.
"Why would I use a four-wheeler when a two-wheeler can do the job,” said Haresh Mirani.
Neilson likes hopping on a scooter and Mirani gets on his bike.
They are not the only ones who prefer this kind of transportation.
Over the years, city leaders have worked to make it easier to get around without a car, and now they are bringing more electric scooters and bikes through a vendor called BIRD.
“I think we have a very bikable city people like to get out and enjoy it that way, and it's something that people like to be a part of in the bike community in Knoxville,” said Carter Hall, who works for the city.
Each vendor is allowed to stage up to 300 scooters and at least 50 e-bikes. That’s an increase from the current combined maximum of 500 scooters, although the initial number of scooters being deployed is expected to be less than the maximum allowed by the permit.
“Both LINK and Bird will be deploying bikes that combine the fun of biking with the added convenience of electric assistance. This is a great way to explore our City, replace short-distance car trips, and avoid any worries about parking," Hall said.
Some downtown on-street parking spaces will be converted into parking corrals for the electric scooters.
"Because the corrals are street-level, they also subtly reinforce the existing rule that scooter passengers only ride on the streets, not sidewalks. Scooter riding is and will continue to be prohibited on sidewalks," the release from the City of Knoxville said.
The new permits come with new safety and accountability requirements. People now have the option of reporting what they view as scooter or e-bike riders’ misbehavior using the My Knoxville app.
Bird's electric rental scooters will deploy this week. A source told 10News that they hope the e-bikes will be available in the next couple of weeks.