Snap Judgment

Can E-Assist Bikes Save Bike Share?

Pronto is dead, but the city hasn’t given up on the concept.

By Matthew Halverson December 20, 2016 Published in the January 2017 issue of Seattle Met

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Cycling advocates are charged up about e-assist bike share.

After the failure of its Pronto bike share system, Seattle plans to roll out a $5 million fleet of electric-assist bikes in 2017. A positive shift of gears or throwing good money after bad? 

  • “It’s a sign the city is trying something bold. Sure, $5 million sounds like a lot, but if it’s successful, that would be an incredible deal. The state puts up freeway signs that cost that much.” —Tom Fucoloro, founder, Seattle Bike Blog
  • “Electric-assist bike share could entice a lot more people to try biking in hilly Seattle. But first we need dedicated bike lanes throughout downtown. The majority of people who would try bike share are risk averse.” —Cathy Tuttle, executive director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
  • “You have to be realistic about the added technical difficulties of maintaining a fleet of electric bikes. But electric bikes open up the city. They make the city flat.” —David Giugliano, co-owner, G&O Family Cyclery
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