A new wave of dockless electric vehicles are hitting Santa Monica streets this week with the introduction of an e-bike system by LimeBike.

Bird scooters were the first dockless e-vehicle in the city and LimeBike launched their scooters earlier this month. The new e-bikes are an expansion of the dockless model that allows users to pick up a bike/scooter from anywhere and leave it at their destination.

“As one of the most highly trafficked areas in LA, Santa Monica is a great fit for LimeBike. With our electric bikes, we hope to provide an affordable transportation option, alleviate congestion, improve urban mobility, and transform the future of transportation for all of LA,” said Thomas Lord, LA General Manager.

The bikes have the same price structure as scooters: $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute of riding. For both bikes and scooters, users can see the location of a vehicle via a smartphone app. The vehicles are unlocked in the app, taken to their destination and left on the street. The bikes can reach speeds of 14.8 mph and travel up to 62 miles on a charge.

Proponents of the new systems say the convenience of grab-and-go systems will make them the transportation choice of the future. Companies in the dockless market have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in and are operating nationwide.

However, the explosive growth has angered some of the municipalities whose streets have been filled with the vehicles and critics say riders are blocking sidewalks with the devices.

In Santa Monica, the city took Bird to court over its right to operate in the public right of way and eventually secured a $300,000 settlement that included a requirement the company implement education efforts for its riders. City Hall eventually passed an emergency ordinance that dockless vehicles are subject to the city’s vending regulations and established an impound fee of $60 when the vehicles pose “an immediate hazard or obstruct access.”

Staff will return to council this year with additional information on regulating shared vehicle systems like Bird and LimeBike.

San Francisco has also taken a hard line with the scooters, impounding vehicles that are left in the right of way and a potential cap on the total number of scooters in the city. Santa Monica officials said they do not know how many individual vehicles are in the city at the moment but said limits on devices could be part of their proposal when they bring permanent rules back for council approval.

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