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Long Beach launching new electric bike ‘library' program

Starting Tuesday, the city of Long Beach will be launching what it’s calling an electric bike “library” as the city tries to foster new bicycle users.

The E-Bike Lending Library Program will let users rent out the bikes for free for three months at a time. The bikes, 35 in total, will be placed across the city to residents of 18 years and older on a first come, first serve basis. 

Twenty-three of the bicycles will be reserved for low-income residents.

“It’s important that we focus and make sure that these resources aren’t gobbled up by just the first person who has the time and the resources to ask for it,” said Long Beach Public Works Traffic Engineer Associate Paul Van Dyk. 

Business owners like Evan Whitener believe the program will benefit them. 

Whitener owns a bicycle shop off Broadway in Long Beach and is excited to hear about getting more people on the bike lane. 

“I think it will turn [bikes] from being a new trend to more of a tool,” Whitener shared. 

Indeed, e-bikes have become a tool for individuals working in delivery services. Bubba is an Uber Eats delivery worker and uses an e-bike of his own to complete orders.

“It’s just more open. It’s more freedom. You get a lot more movement, mobility. It saves a bunch of money on gas,” Bubba said. 

The e-bikes were paid for by a one-time donation of $350,000 dollars from the Recovery Act fund. These funds will also pay staff to maintain the program. 

“I think they are great for empowering people, and I think they should be something that’s easily lent out,” Van Dyk said of the bikes.

The program, as well as the application process, will open to the public until January 2024.

“You get this ability, it’s going to help a lot of people,” Bubba said. “It’s that one little hand up that gives you that strength to actually push on and have that chance.”

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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