Updated April 30, 2018, 5:59 p.m.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Bikeshare programs are now operating in more than 50 cities throughout the U.S. including here in Rockford, however, for some cities, the dock-less bikes have become a hassle.
A bike in the tree or a scooter in the middle of a walkway, these are just a few of the issues reported as dockless transportation services grow in popularity.
Officials in several different cities say they are taking action to clear out the so-called litter-bikes. In San Francisco, the city sent out cease and desist letters demanding bike-sharing companies submit plans to comply with permitting requirements. In Austin, Texas, officials passed an ordinance fining companies $200 per bike without proper permits. Companies like LimeBike say it's about educating its users to be responsible for where they leave the bikes.
LimeBike Rockford Operations Manager Gwen Jones released a statement saying, "Rockford has had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to LimeBike. The community has expressed support and excitement towards seeing bikeshare in the city, and we look forward to continue serving Rockford with affordable, sustainable mobility."
Updated April 6, 2018, 6:17 p.m.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- More bicyclists will be on stateline roads, as Rockford welcomes LimeBike, the first of its kind in the state.
Kegel's Bicycle Store owner Robb Sinks says he's optimistic about a new dock-free bike-sharing program.
"It could be a bonus. People could decide, 'This is fun,' and then they'll start to ride, but I guess it's too early to tell. The way they're trying to get transportation for people that really don't have cars to be able to connect to the bus line will be a positive thing," said Sinks.
LimeBike will place 500 bikes through Rockford, Loves Park, and Machesney Park.
"You're able to find a bike through the LimeBike app, you walk to the nearest one, you scan a QR code on the bike that unlocks a lock on the back of the bike. Whenever you're done, you'll just swipe the red tab on the side," said Operations Manager for LimeBike Will Piper.
While providing another method of transportation is something many can get behind, police emphasize the importance of being cautious when taking to the streets.
"It's a two-way street. There's a responsibility to the motorist and there's a responsibility to the cyclist," said Rockford Police Sgt. David Nicosia.
They remind us to:
1. Ride with traffic
2. Keep both hands on the handle-bars
3. Make hand-signals and eye-contact with drivers
Sinks believes the launch of the LimeBike program in the area will benefit the entire area.
"I think it's a bonus," said Sinks.
LimeBike tracks the use of their bikes and what areas are more popular. They will then decide where to put more or less bikes.
Updated April 6, 2018, 3:00 a.m.
UPDATE: LimeBike is officially launching this weekend in Rockford.
The launch will be the first dock-free bikeshare program not only in Illinois but in the upper Midwest.
Riders can use the code LIMEROCKFORD to receive $3 in ride credits to celebrate.
Updated March 8, 2018, 8:51 p.m.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Winnebago County Board approves a plan to allow bike sharing program LimeBike to expand outside city limits to places like Machesney Park and Loves Park.
Through the program, nearly 500 bikes will be placed around Winnebago County. Users can download an app on their phone to rent a bike for a certain amount of time and then leave it in an approved place when they're done.
The city of Rockford still needs to give its OK on the program. Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney would like to see it in place in a month.
Posted March 1, 2018, 9:33 p.m.
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Rockford area is one step closer to having its own bike share program.
Winnebago County officials say bike share programs are becoming an increasing trend across urban communities, and within the next few months our community could have that option for transportation.
The Winnebago County Operations and Administrative Committee approved an agreement with the company LimeBike to bring the service to the stateline.
Chairman Frank Haney said it's like Uber for bicycles. Nearly 500 bikes will be placed around the county where users can download an app on their phone to rent a bike for a certain amount of time. County leaders say a program like this will greatly benefit those looking for another form of transportation.
"Very excited about it. I think it's an attractive thing to young professionals but also for folks who use our local bus service for that last kind of mile that they need after the bus and before they would get to their destination,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney.
The bike sharing program will come at no cost to local taxpayers. The full county board will have the final approval at next week's meeting.
County officials say the bike sharing program will be a great asset to our area. The program also plans to expand its services to other communities across the county.