Agreements are almost finalized with city officials in Champaign and Urbana for the area's first dockless-bike-share service.
Lily Wilcock is the active transportation coordinator at the University of Illinois. She told The News Gazette that the VeoRide company has given her serial numbers for 500 bicycles, which is the largest fleet size that's allowed. The goal is to have them out around campus the start of the semester, Wilcock said.
Each bike features a GPS, a self-locking mechanism on the back wheel and can be accessed with a phone app. VeoRide charges 50 cents for 15 minutes. Riders are charged through the app.
Both cities will follow similar guidelines for parking. In areas with large sidewalk spaces, bikes should be parked on the sidewalk if they're at least 4 feet away from blocking anything, said Kevin Garcia, city planner for Urbana.
"So they'd be parked near the curb where existing bike racks are," Garcia said. "Or if there are no racks, places where a rack would be."
Garcia said he's working on a video about accessing and parking shared bikes. He is hoping to have it out in the next few weeks and will promote it through the city's social-media platforms.
Dockless bike sharing became permitted after the university, Champaign and Urbana solidified an intergovernmental agreement earlier this year.
The company LimeBike has also expressed interest in coming to the area. The company has submitted a certificate of insurance and showed interest in completing an application, said Ben LeRoy, associate city planner for Champaign.