Privately operated bikesharing companies have been popping up all over the US, including in and around the Seattle area. In June of 2017, the City of Seattle released a pilot program of new rules to govern how private companies operate free-floating, dock-less bike shares in Seattle. As a result, new companies have released their colorful bikes around the city. Since the program was opened up to allow private companies, the amount of users has dwarfed the old city-run system. The pilot program ended Dec 31st but you will still see bikes on the street as the city evaluates the impact & popularity of the bike shares.
Cities on the Eastside have learned a lot from watching Seattle execute their bikeshare program and have decided to launch their own pilot. Fortunately for Bellevue, Kirkland & Redmond, Seattle went first before the Eastside bikeshare pilot begins in May.
Kirkland & Redmond are launching and permitting dockless type of bikesharing. And, Bellevue is going to be the only city in America to launch an entirely electric bikeshare system! They believe that they will get more use of the bikes if they are eBikes (electric bicycles), due to the terrain and hills in the city. Starting in April, Bellevue will accept applications from bikeshare operators and allow launch in May. They plan to evaluate the pilot program in September and then again in February 2019.
The city of Bothell has already debuted their bikes. In January, they appeared suddenly en-masse on the streets of Bothell, becoming the first official expansion into one of Seattle's suburbs. In fact, a number of bikes started to end up in Bothell after trips that had started in Seattle - likely due to the Burke-Gilman Trail. LimeBike, one of the privately operated bikeshare companies, saw that the majority of bikes leaving the city would end up in there! It seemed like a natural progression to formerly expand the program into that suburb. Bothell residents haven't taken to the bikes quite like Seattliets have, but time will tell!
For daily updates on the bikesharing system in the Seattle/Eastside areas, check out the Seattle Bike blog!