KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville will soon offer rentable electric bikes and add new accountability measures to their existing electric scooter program, officials announced Monday.
The city has selected a new vendor, Bird, to join its Shared Dockless Scooter Program alongside LINK. New permits with both vendors include new accountability measures, plans to install parking corrals to reduce overnight scooter clutter and the addition of electric bike shares.
Each vendor is allowed to stage up to 300 scooters in the center city and University of Tennessee areas, though a release from the city states the initial number of scooters being deployed is expected to be less than the maximum amount. Each vendor will also be allowed to deploy at least 50 e-bikes.
“We are excited to offer a new option for ways we can move around the City with the addition of e-bikes to Knoxville,” said Carter Hall, the City’s Policy and Business Innovation Manager. “We’ve heard from residents that they’ve missed the bike share option in Knoxville, and we are happy to bring it back with even more updated options.
Knoxville has been without a rentable bike offering since the Pace bike share program shut down in 2020.
Some downtown on-street parking spaces will be converted into parking corrals for electric scooters. All scooters would be returned to the corrals each night and parked there to start the next day. The street-level corrals will reinforce that scooters are to be ridden on roadways only and usage on sidewalks is prohibited.
The new accountability measures will allow people to report scooter or e-bike riders misbehavior through the My Knoxville app. A city release said this will make the process of assessing any fines to frequent rule violators easier.
Driver’s license verification will also be required to register as a rider with both Bird and LINK.
A city release said shared scooters and e-bikes can play a small role in Knoxville’s long-term goal to reduce communitywide emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050.
“We heard very strong support for low-emissions mobility from the Mayor’s Climate Council,” said Brian Blackmon, the City’s Sustainability Director. “With no fuel burned in the city, scooters and e-bikes provide a low-emissions way for folks to get to their favorite places in the city quickly.”