Go anywhere in Bend, and you’ll see bikes galore.
Some of those bikes, coated in bright blue, are the rentable Bird Bikes.
Now in the company’s third week of a two year trial in Bend, the program is seeing a steady increase of users.
“I think we had a new record like yesterday for the first time where every bike was used almost twice in a day which is really good actually,” said Tobias Marx, the Parking Services Division Manager for the City of Bend.
“So I’ve ridden them a few times in Seattle,” said visitor Adam Lassman.
“Not yet but I have seen them around,” said Bre Senter, who’s visiting from Salt Lake City.
“We’ve just seen them around in a few different places and clustering here and there and people riding them,” said Chris and Amy Alt, also visitors.
“There’s about 200 – 250 bikes in Bend and we have 150 of them, actually 152 of them in rotation and operating in the system at this time,” Marx said.
But those bikes are ending up in some pretty curious places.
“You’ve seen them strewn around the sidewalks and seeing them in the water is tough,” Lassman said.
“I’ve seen them actually parked out of stores so I think the person who’s riding them is inside the store,” Senter said.
Which is why Bird Bikes is now introducing incentives this week for returned bikes and fees for bikes that may not be in the places they should.
“The Incentive will be like a dollar credit on your account that you can use next time you’re riding the bike,” Marx said.
The fee is a little less clear.
“I don’t know exactly what the fee will be yet,” Marx said “We’re working on that this week. As soon as I know I’ll update you.”
For riders, the fee will be given after the second time a bike is left in an area it shouldn’t be.
“Actually, what’s also important to know is that we’re working to expand the bike parking areas as well,” Marx said.
By gathering information from Bird Bike trips, the city will determine which areas need more Bird Bike parking.
For now, they say the fee and the report system through the Bird app is the best way to handle the situation.
“You download the app, you click on report a bike, you enter the bikes number and that bike will be picked up and relocated in about two hours,” Marx said.
“I can see the benefit, but there’s also a downside as well being strewn about the streets,” Lassman said.