Cobb could see more two-wheeled traffic given the green light under a county code that would regulate bike share companies seeking to create a greater presence within the county.
The Cobb Department of Transportation is proposing a new county code that would create a permitting system for bike share services in Cobb for the general public. The code would regulate the application, operation and management of privately owned bike sharing rental services. The first reading of it and other proposed codes is set for commissioners’ 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday.
“The code is because some of the locations will be on county right-of-way,” said Commissioner Bob Ott, who says the Cumberland Community Improvement District, which is within his commission district, has reported strong use of the bicycles it offers from Zagster.
A Boston-based company, Zagster provides pedal bikes, electric bikes and scooters — all of which it classifies as “micro-mobility vehicles” — within more than 250 vehicle share stations across 35 states, according to its website. Zagster uses a mobile app that allows users to unlock bikes for use, typically for a fee based on the length of time used, though short trips may not incur a charge.
In addition to the Cumberland CID, the Zagster program is offered in Cobb by the Town Center CID and the city of Smyrna. Ott said the code would potentially allow bike share companies to set up stations at county parks or other county facilities.
Language in the proposed code also allows permitted stations to be set up in public parking lots or garages and event venues, or on private property if the property owner agrees to allow public access to the bike share station at all times.
Among the requirements spelled out in the code that bike share operators would have to adhere to are:
Bike share station licenses would have to be obtained for each station installed in the public right-of-way.♦
♦ All operators must have a minimum bike fleet of 50 bikes.
♦ Operators would have to provide documentation of insurance through a company legally authorized to do business in Georgia.
♦ All bikes must be equipped with a locking mechanism and/or smart technology to prevent theft, along with GPS tracking to track ridership data.
♦ Operators must provide the county with data for its entire fleet located within the county, but not information that would violate users’ privacy. Anonymized data for each trip would be provided to allow for management of the bike share system and for transportation planning efforts, and the county could publish real-time bike availability data to potential riders.
♦ Operators must have a 24-hour customer service number for riders to report safety concerns, complaints or ask questions.
In his State of the County address in January, Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce highlighted the county’s “expanding network of trails and the associated Zagster bike rentals for riding on 60-plus miles of trails from Kennesaw to the Chattahoochee River.”
Both Smyrna and Town Center maintain three Zagster bike rental stations each, with Smyrna’s at the city’s library on the Village Green, at Taylor-Brawner Park on Atlanta Road along the multi-use trail, and near Jonquil Park along Spring Road.
Town Center’s locations are at Aviation Park at the corner of Barrett Lakes and Cobb Place boulevards; the Bells Ferry Trailhead at 3015 Bells Ferry Road NE, south of New Chastain and Big Shanty roads; and Town Center Drive at the pedestrian bridge behind Town Center Mall.
Barring any delays amid discussions on the proposed county code, the earliest commissioners could hold a final hearing and vote on the language would be their 7 p.m. meeting on June 25.
The Cobb Board of Commissioners meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Cobb Government Building.