Sustainable, free, community-controlled transportation
In 2020, Shared Mobility Inc. received a donation of over 3,000 e-bikes from Uber Technologies, Inc. Our goal is to build community-managed, free E-Bike Libraries in partnership with local community groups across the nation.
What is an E-Bike Library?
Traditional shared mobility services like bike sharing may overlook the needs of low-income people, working-class residents, and communities of color. E-Bike Libraries focus on empowering these folks through sustainable, community-controlled transportation.
Led by community groups, SMI’s E-Bike Libraries offer pedal assist E-Bikes free of charge to community members. By removing the rental cost, more people are able to bike, and we enhance access to jobs, services, and recreational opportunities.
Much like a public library where people borrow books and attend educational events, e-bike libraries create places where folks borrow e-bikes for free and participate in community events centered around cycling.
How it Works
First, we set up the e-bike library. We work with community-based organizations like block clubs, faith-based organizations, community groups, and non-profit organizations to set up an e-bike library. In addition to supplying the bikes, we help with the logistics of setting up the library, support inviting community members to use the bikes, and provide basic bike education.
Next, we invite the community in. Once the library is set up, in partnership with the hosting community group, we introduce community members to the library through in-person events to build impactful relationships between community-based organizations and their members. This introduction includes bicycle safety education, an overview of how the bikes work, trip planning, and a basic introduction to cycling culture. Unlike traditional bike share models, members can rent bikes for short or extended periods to meet their mobility needs. Members rely on the community host for general bike maintenance and e-bike battery charging.
Community groups can tailor the e-bike libraries to meet their program goals. In addition to supporting residents, community-based organizations can leverage the e-bike library for their programmatic goals. This may include workforce development and education on device maintenance led by a local bicycle cooperative. It could also include promoting access to jobs and healthy food and advancing healthy lifestyles through physical activity and fresh air. E-bike libraries can be adjusted to support the host group and the communities they serve.
Past E-Bike Library Pilot Programs
E-Bike Library Pilot in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY
During the summer of 2021, we partnered with two community partners in Western New York to pilot our first e-bike library programs. East Side Bike Club and Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative led the e-bike library programs in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, respectively. The first of their kind, both programs made pedal-assist e-bikes freely available to residents and include free group rides to build a community around e-bike riding.
Electro Bici E-Bike Lending Program in Los Angeles, CA
In 2022, we supported the launch of the Electro Bici e-bike lending program in Los Angeles. This program, led by Pacoima Beautiful, provides free access to a fleet of 100 e-bikes for Northeast San Fernando Valley residents.
In the Media
WNY E-Bike Library Initiative
With financial support from Independent Health and Ralph Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Shared Mobility Inc. is refurbishing a large reserve of e-bikes to donate to community-based organizations across Western New York to start their own E-Bike Libraries.
We are looking for help!
Are you a community-based organization that could use a fleet of e-bikes for your programming? Are you a leader interested in bringing services like this to your constituency? Please contact us at: Info@sharedmobility.org