City: Despite some parking fails, new Seattle bike-share program successful so far

SEATTLE — Seattle's two-month old bike-share model is for private companies to rent GPS-enabled bikes you can pick up and drop off anywhere.

New data from the city shows the bikes are used for an average of 2.2 trips per day, which is more use than any other bike-share city except New York.

"I think it's awesome. You get off and you leave it alone, it's fantastic," said Larry Arnstein, who has tried a LimeBike.

>> Related: Seattle bikes left in bizarre places; share program sends message to 'bad players'
The city has currently issued three companies permits for up to 2,000 bikes each, and officials guess there are currently more than 4,000 bikes available.

The bikes are supposed to be parked out of the way of pedestrians on the sidewalk, and for the most part, the city says they are.

But, there are also a number of photos going around on social media showing bikes parked in strange places, like on a roof above a doorway to the Washington State Convention Center.

Other photos show bikes in trees, up utility poles, submerged in lakes, and even on top of the Fremont Troll.

>> See photos of irresponsibly parked bikes here. 

"We see those funny locations they end up on and I think those are more stunts,"  said Kyle Rowe, who manages the bike-share program for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

He's more concerned about the bikes blocking sidewalks or curb cuts at intersections.

Rowe said it's up to the companies to move them.

"100 percent, it's their responsibility," Rowe said.



​Rowe guesses the city has had about a dozen complaints about improperly parked bikes.

He appears in a new SDOT video reminding people of parking do's and don'ts.

"Relocation requests or complaints about improper parking are pretty few and far between," said Brian No of Spin.

"What more and more people in Seattle have begun to realize is if it's really in their way and if they're willing and able to, they can just move the bike a couple feet," No said.

The proper place to park the bikes is out of the main walking area of the sidewalk, in the area you'll find newspaper boxes and trees.

The bike share pilot project could be made permanent in January.

It replaces the failed Pronto bike-share system which the city bailed out and then canceled.

Pronto required docks and had fewer bikes, leading to low use.