With mandate for ‘more boots and bikes and less cars,’ town of Breckenridge launches e-bike program aimed at residents
75 bikes will be deployed throughout the town to encourage car-free, one-way travel between neighborhoods, businesses and points of interest
By Robert Tann
An electric bike that is part of the town of Breckenridge’s new program aimed at reducing traffic and emissions is pictured with the Tenmile Range and Breckenridge Ski Area behind it. The program allows riders to take 30-minute trips for $3 before incurring per-minute charges.
Teddy Wilkinson/Town of Breckenridge
In a bid to reduce emissions, curb congestion and expand public transit, the town of Breckenridge is preparing to launch an electric bike sharing program that will run through the summer and into fall.
Beginning on Saturday, May 20, the town will deploy 75 bikes housed in more than a dozen stations. Bike sessions will only begin and end at each station, a way to encourage short, one-way trips that may otherwise be done with a car.
The program will be particularly geared towards locals, with a bike station within a quarter-mile of 14 different workforce housing neighborhoods and developments, according to Breckenridge Sustainability and Alternate Transportation Administrator Teddy Wilkinson.
“In addition to just having hubs where people live, we want to have them where people want to go,” Wilkinson said, adding that stations will also be near the Breckenridge Recreation Center, the Summit County Library South Branch, River Park and City Market.
Bikes will cost $3 to unlock for 30 minutes. Anything over 30 minutes will cost an additional 50 cents per minute. Breckenridge residents will also be eligible for a membership that costs $15 per month or $50 for the entire e-bike season, which lasts until Oct. 31. Those respective costs are currently $10 and $40 for residents who buy before June 18.
Wilkinson said the program is not intended to replace the need for bike rentals, adding that locals and visitors will still have plenty of reasons to take advantage of the town’s many rental stores for longer day trips across the county.
“The pricing is structured so that to use the e-bike share for a half-day rental would be more than double the rate of a bike shop,” Wilkinson said.
The e-bike program, instead, will offer an affordable, car-free alternative for residents making a quick trip to the grocery store, for example.
A study by the Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics showed that 52% of all trips in the United States in 2021 for all modes of transit were less than 3 miles. In Breckenridge, officials said the more those trips can be taken without a car, the better the town’s overall community will be.
Climate and sustainability has been a major focus for town officials who have rolled out a flurry of policies and programs in recent years. Those include incentives to shift more residents to recycling and subsidies for home electrification projects in partnership with the High Country Conservation Center.
And reducing carbon emissions from vehicles is another key prong in the fight for a cleaner environment, officials said.
“With environmental goals, there’s not one silver bullet to fix it,” said Council member Todd Rankin. “I think all of these incremental, small things hopefully add up to a bigger success story.”
Council member Jay Beckerman said the town council has set a mandate for “more boots and bikes and less cars.”
“Having our residents get out of their car just one day a week, to change their habits just one day a week, can make a huge difference,” Beckerman said.
Outside of its benefits to the environment, biking also provides residents and visitors a better way to experience Breckenridge, he said. Whether it’s exploring the riverwalk corridor or musing at public art.
“I think that you can view the assets of our town’s core better on foot or on bike than in an automobile,” Beckerman said.
While this year’s program is a pilot, town officials said they hope to continue and even expand it into the future, should it prove successful.
The town contracted with Drop Mobility, which provided the bikes for the program, to the tune of $243,000. Half of that cost was supported by a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation, according to Wilkinson.
And with clean energy funding made available through two new federal laws, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, more money may be coming down the pike for such programs, Wilkinson said.
Compared with the cost for a single diesel bus, which Wilkinson said can be as much as $500,000, the e-bike program is “a very economical way to deploy public transportation and provide a way for the public to get around,” he said.
Residents and visitors looking to use a bike will need to download the Breck E-Ride app, which will allow them to pay for their ride, look at a map of docking stations and show if bikes are available at any given time.
More information on the app can be found online at BreckERide.com