In 1966, a proposal was made to the Amsterdam City Council to initiate a bike sharing program, with the goal of reducing the number of cars clogging the roads. It was rejected unanimously. Amsterdam now has a thriving bike culture, an aggressive bike sharing program, and a lot fewer cars on city streets as a result. Things can change. Bike share programs can be part of the solution.

Case in point: You will soon notice a new mobility option in Davis; shared ebikes and escooters available on a per ride rental basis from Spin.

The basic rent for each will be $1 to unlock the device and 32 cents per minute. Residents and students who can demonstrate they are low income will be eligible for a reduced rate of 50 cents to unlock and 10 cents per minute. A Spin Pass is available for a $3 flat monthly rate for a 30-day period. You pay nothing to unlock and $0.32 per minute. A University and Yolo Commute pass will get you 500 minutes of trip time with no unlock fees for $60 per quarter.

Cool Davis is supportive of any service that will help reduce automobile trips. This is one that will let you zip around town on a personal mobility device for a reasonable fee. Here is a link to a Davis Enterprise article with more information.

To get a little more background about Spin and the new program, we asked Derek Stehlin, Manager, Government Relations West for Spin, a few clarifying questions.

Usage: Number of rides anticipated

Q: Once fully rolled out, how many rides do you anticipate will be taken per day in Davis?

A: Once we are fully ramped up, we would expect a range of 750-1,250 trips per day, depending upon seasonality and when school is in session.

Q: Do you have any data for the percentage of these rides you anticipate will replace a trip by car? By public transit? By walking? By personal pedal bike? (We would, of course, really appreciate any Davis specific expectations you have. But general experience-based data from your overall system would be welcome as well.)

A: Based on a recent 2023 report by the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA), we estimate that approximately 37% percent of shared micromobility trips replace car trips, while 64% of riders report that they used shared micromobility to connect to transit. While these national level figures certainly vary city-by-city, we are optimistic that the City of Davis will benefit greatly from our new shared mobility options given its renowned biking culture and extensive bike lane network. 

Q: What other cities do you serve at this time?

A: We serve over 80 cities and campuses across the US. Some noteworthy micromobility programs in the west include Burlingame-Millbrae, San Francisco, Santa Monica, UC San Diego, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Washington State University. As for other town-and-gown programs, Colorado State University & Fort Collins, University of Michigan & Ann Arbor, Pennsylvania State University & State College, and Michigan State University & Lansing are a few examples of our current long-term partners.

Bikes are pedal-assist: No throttles

Q: Will the ebikes have a throttle or will it be necessary to pedal them to move? What will the top speed be? What will the top speed be in a “slow zone?”

A: Our e-bikes do not have throttles and are considered to be pedal-assist (“Class I” e-bikes by California code). The top speed in the City and on campus will be 15 mph. We will also implement a number of Slow Ride Zones with a reduced maximum speed (e.g. 8-10 mph) in key areas (e.g. downtown) where there are a higher number of pedestrians. The locations of Slow Ride Zones will be determined based on input from City and University officials and ongoing community feedback.

Q: What will the top speed of the scooters be?

Similar to e-bikes, the top speed of our e-scooters will be 15 mph.

Parking your Spin

Q: How many Spin designated “parking zones” do you anticipate? Will these all be designated by the end of September?

A: Parking will be allowed at most bike racks throughout the city and campus. In most areas, riders will be required to lock their e-bike or e-scooter to an approved bike rack. With approval from the City and University, there will also be some areas where we are exploring the idea of parking corrals for shared devices only. This is intended to free-up space for personally-owned bikes and create safe parking locations in areas where there are fewer bike racks available. Parking areas will always be visible in the Spin app.

Q: What is a “Spin corral?” Where will they be located and how many will there be?

A: A parking corral is an area on a paved surface that is demarcated by painted or taped lines, and sometimes delineators or bollards, which is designed for the parking of shared micromobility devices. All approved parking corrals by the City or University will be depicted with a clearly visible “P” parking symbol in the Spin app.

Q: Riders are expected to take a picture of where they parked at the end of each ride. If parked incorrectly, the ride cannot end and the rider will be charged time until the bike is parked properly. As a practical matter, will you be monitoring every ride or how will that work?

A: Our software monitors when a vehicle should be allowed to be parked or not, based on the geofencing (i.e. a No Ride Zone or No Park Zone) in a given area, as dictated to us by the City or University. If a device is in a No Park Zone, then a rider will not be allowed to end their trip. If a rider decides to abandon their e-bike or e-scooter in a No Park Zone, then they will continue to be charged and alerted until their parking is corrected. Riders who do this repeatedly will also face strict consequences (such as fines or suspensions) in order to protect the safety and clean aesthetics of the Davis community.

Speed moderation built in

Q: Technically, how do you “electronically” moderate speeds in “slow zones,” and enforce no-ride and no-parking zones? GPS?

A: Spin is given GIS files from the City and University, whose boundaries are either No Ride Zones, No Parking Zones, or Slow Ride Zones. Spin then uploads them into our administrative software system. These zones, each with their own unique boundaries and criteria, then communicate with the app on the user’s phone, as well as the shared vehicle itself, using each phone’s and vehicle’s GPS location. For example, if a user tries to ride into a No Ride Zone, after crossing that boundary, the vehicle will both slowly decelerate and begin making noises. Simultaneously, if the user were to stop and check push notifications and their Spin app, the app and messaging would tell them they are in an area where riding is not permitted. Both the vehicle and the app are able to do this based on GPS location relative to the type of geofencing Spin has set up on the backend.