New electric bike share program rolls into Burlington area

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Do you have trouble biking up some of the steep streets in Burlington? A new program to make Vermont’s Queen City a little greener can also make those rides a little easier.

“Living on Colchester Ave., there’s a very steep hill and a lot of people struggle to get up that, and so I personally own e-bikes to get up those hills,” said Jason Stuffle of Burlington.

Stuffle says he hopes making e-bikes more accessible will motivate Queen City residents to throw on a helmet and get back in the saddle.

“It really gets people on a bike and out of a car, and that’s really great for the neighborhood and the whole community,” Stuffle said.

Burlington isn’t the only community benefiting from the new Greenride Bikeshare program.

The 200 electric-assist bikes will be placed at 30 strategically located hubs across South Burlington and Winooski, too.

These will replace the 100-pedal-bike fleet only available at 17 hubs, a program that launched in 2018.

So, those beloved blue and green Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s pedal bikes are now out of commission.

“I’m really excited and believe this is going to be far better than anything we’ve had here in the past,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington.

“Right now we have a great opportunity to encourage people to use sustainable travel when they plan to return to the workplace,” said Sandy Thibault, the executive director of the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association or CATMA.

CATMA encourages local students and faculty to reduce their carbon footprint as they travel to and from school and work.

“Now we have e-bikes, which I think is going to be a game-changer,” Thibault said.

Since Greenride Bikeshare’s launch in spring 2018, people have taken nearly 20,000 trips and ridden more than 60,000 miles.

Getting new riders means reducing the number of car trips and moving the city toward its goal of becoming a Net Zero Energy City by 2030.

Plus, riders like Stuffle say this could put efforts to close the gap in Burlington’s routes on a roll.

“The more people you get out, the more people will want that infrastructure and the more you can build. Often an excuse is, ‘I don’t see anyone bike on that road, you don’t need a bike lane.’ Well, probably no one bikes there because it’s very unsafe and they don’t feel comfortable. If you make a comfortable facility, people will use it,” Stuffle said.

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