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Iowa City nearing new bike program after change in city code

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – Iowa City officials are hoping to roll out a new bike-share program this fall, something that has vexed them in the past.

“Maybe five years ago, they were almost passing a plan,” Elizabeth Hubing said. “It’s exciting to hear that we’re a little bit closer hopefully this time around.”

On Tuesday, the Iowa City City Council approved a city ordinance change, allowing them to treat electric assist bikes the same as traditional bicycles.

“We’re really excited to get a bike share launched and we’re really excited to have another option for people in Iowa City,” Transportation Director Darian Nagle-Gamm said.

The city had considered a program with docked bicycles in the past, and was counting on local shops to help them do it.

“I was very interested in being a part of it,” Ryan Baker of World of Bikes said.

However, the city is now looking to launch a “dockless” program, where bikes don’t have to be returned to specific places after a ride. While the city says this is cheaper and easier, some are concerned about sidewalk access and more.

“I guess time will tell how scattered the bikes will become,” Baker said.

Nagle-Gamm said the city’s new provider will offer “geofencing” technology, which penalizes people for improperly parking a bike in the pedestrian right of way, or committing another violation.

They are still a few steps away from actually implementing the program but hope to do so this fall.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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