Bixi to offer electric bikes – Bixi, Montreal’s public bicycle sharing system, will soon be offering electric-assist bicycles (EABs) at select locations. Starting in August, a few such EABs will be available for rental by the public as part of a pilot project. The same hourly rental fees will apply to the EABs Bixis as to the ordinary pedal-driven Bixis.
The EAB Bixis are equipped with batteries that can propel the bicycle as far as 100 kilometres at speeds up to 25kmh. They can also be pedaled as per a regular bicycle, but are probably heavy. The battery will need to be changed manually after use.
Pierre Parent, the communications directer at Bixi., told Radio-Canada that the non-profit organization will evaluate the results of its pilot project in an effort to try and create an optimal system for Montreal. Some other cities, such as Paris, France, have experienced difficulties with their public bike sharing programs when introducing EABs.
EABs are legal on bike paths and most streets; adults require no special driving license, but the operator must be wearing a helmet. Youths aged 14-17 do need a 6D scooter license, while youths under age 14 are not allowed at all to drive an EAB.
The Times understands that currently there are about 5200 Bixi bicycles available for rent at some 500 docking stations in various parts of the city. Rental rates start at $2.95 for 30 minutes—and require a credit card–while a one-year membership costs $91. The Bixi season, however, only lasts until November 15 when all Bixi equipment is picked up and stored indoors.
The City of Laval is also experimenting with EABs at its bicycle sharing facilities, which are independent of Bixi. These rental bicycles are currently available near Cartier, Concorde and Montmorency metro stations, as well as the Le Carrefour .bus terminal.
More information about Bixi can be found at: www.bixi.com