Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Voter Guide

How San Diego Is Responding To The Dockless Bike Craze

A row of dockless bike-sharing bicycles are parked on a sidewalk in downtown ...

Photo by Susana Tsutsumi

Above: A row of dockless bike-sharing bicycles are parked on a sidewalk in downtown San Diego, March 23, 2018.

How San Diego Is Responding To The Dockless Bike Craze


Zack Bartlett, general manager for San Diego, LimeBike


It's been an invasion of brightly colored bicycles. In the past month, thousands of new bikes have appeared on San Diego street corners, brought by dockless bike sharing companies.

To rent the bikes, users download an app that tells them where to find a bike, unlock it with their phone, and then they can leave it wherever they want when they're done.

But some people have been vandalizing the bikes, or leaving them in hard-to-get-to and inconvenient places, like in the middle of a sidewalk in front of a business.

The city of Coronado said this week it would start impounding bikes left on the island. Companies, like LimeBike, were denied permits to operate in the city of Coronado, but people who rent the bikes from nearby areas take them to the city and sometimes leave them there.

Zack Bartlett, LimeBike's San Diego manager, said the company wants to correct the problem.

"We're creating a no-parking zone for Coronado that will be visible on the app. We are also talking to folks at the ferry to see if we can educate users that 'sure, if you do want to take your bike over and enjoy the island that's great.' I think everyone is behind that. 'But if you could kindly bring it back to the city of San Diego when you're done, that will help everyone involved,'" Bartlett said.

LimeBike launched operations in the city of San Diego on Feb. 15. Bartlett said the company has thousands of bikes, hundreds of electric-assisted bikes and hundreds of scooters in the city. He said each product is being used almost daily.

In the first two weeks of operation, the company had 21,000 new users and 55,000 rides which equated to 25,000 pounds of CO2 saved, Bartlett said.

Bartlett joins Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss how its first month operating in San Diego has gone.

Michael Lipkin contributed to this story.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.