People have taken advantage of the LimeBike bike-share program since it rolled out locally in mid-August from its base on the N.C. State University campus.
In less than two months, LimeBike leaders say, more than 10,000 registered users have accounted for more than 25,000 trips covering about 13,000 miles. Based on the trips and distance traveled, they estimate Raleigh users have burned about 390,000 calories while saving 9,000 vehicle miles.
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People on average are riding 6 minutes per trip, which cost 50 cents per half hour of ride time for N.C. State students, faculty and staff, and $1 per half hour for everyone else.
But some people have had a little too much fun with the bikes, particularly around the N.C. State campus.
“We heard a rumor at one point last week that there was a running game to make the weirdest places they could put the bikes on campus,” said Sidney McLaurin, LimeBike’s North Carolina manager.
Someone reported one of the bikes had been placed in a tree last.
“It was really a nuisance for us. We’re not OK with it,” McLaurin said. “Our response time is really good on those issues, and helps us combat those issues.”
Matt Phillips, LimeBike’s operations and logistics manager for Greensboro and Raleigh, said another bike was found on top of a transformer box. A photo posted Friday on the Raleigh Reddit page shows one deposited at the bottom of the Lake Raleigh dam, and a video taken Sunday shows a LimeBike somehow situated atop N.C. State’s Fountain Dining Hall.
Those kinds of actions are the kind that will get campus police involved, McLaurin said.
Social media and university transportation services staff have helped the company keep up with trips ending unlawfully.
There are no rules on where the bikes can go. That’s part of the beauty of the GPS technology the company uses to track them.
“The farthest I’ve found them was a couple were found in Cary,” Phillips said. “I’ve had some ridden to Triangle Town Center and several that were ridden to Garner.”
But the vast majority of the LimeBikes have been left around the N.C. State campus, downtown or north and southeast Raleigh.
Of the 300 bikes the program began with, fewer than 10 have been decommissioned because of damage, either intentional or accidental.
“The biggest thing is just making sure they park the bikes in reasonable, considerate places,” Phillips said. “It only functions as a bike share if everybody shares.”
The City of Durham plans to hold an event Wednesday to get input from residents on the possibility of starting a bike-share program there.