DEL MAR–Move over, San Diego. Electric bikes are coming to Del Mar.
The Del Mar City Council voted unanimously on May 6 to launch a yearlong pilot electric bike share program with neighboring North County cities.
The North County Coastal Bike Share Pilot Program will include: Encinitas, Solana Beach (pending), Carlsbad, Oceanside, North County Transit District, the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and San Diego Association of Governments.
The contractor, which owns the equipment and would operate the program, is Gotcha Ride, LLC.
Earlier, the agencies vetted proposals from six vendors and selected Gotcha’s bike share program, in large part, because of its focus on a clutter-free operation.
The Gotcha model includes designated hubs where bikes are picked up and returned. GPS technology is able to track locations and monitor battery levels of every bike at all times. Using an app that users load onto mobile phones, Gotcha can communicate with riders on bike safety, parking and hub locations. Riders who park improperly can be penalized while riders who return the bikes to hub locations can earn rental credit.
In addition, the pilot program would employ a support team to assist riders and collect bikes that are stored improperly.
Scooters and other mobility devices are prohibited under the pilot bike share program.
The three-speed, “electric-assist” bikes are fitted with batteries, GPS-enabled smart locks, magnesium alloy wheels, solid inner tube tires that won’t puncture, a seat that automatically adjusts, and is driven by a carbon fiber belt that – unlike a chain – won’t jump off of the sprocket. The bikes are painted a bright teal.
The crowning feature, however, is software that allows for “smart locking” and disables the bike if it taken outside the boundaries of “geo-fencing.” Data gathered by Gotcha’s system will be shared with the City.
Technology features, combined with a round-the-clock Gotcha support team, will provide an organized and reliable bike share experience.
The Del Mar’s agreement with Gotcha: Limits the number of bikes deployed in the City to 75; requires geo-fencing to control misplaced bikes; requires that Gotcha respond quickly to complaints; and requires that the company establish clear rules, and assume all liability.
Approximately 12 bike hubs are envisioned around town to connect riders, with several located on the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Pending approval from neighboring cities, the bikes could be deployed in Del Mar this summer.