Less than a year after its signature neon-green bicycles became a familiar part of the landscape, LimeBike is planning to leave Mobile.
City spokesman George Talbot confirmed Tuesday that the dockless bike rental company had notified the city of its intent to leave.
“We’re talking to them,” Talbot said. “They sent us a letter indicating they would like to talk about the agreement. It has nothing to do with the city, it has to do with state law.”
LimeBike wants to introduce motorized scooters to its fleet of bikes in the city, but state law requires meeting burdensome regulations in order to do so.
“They would like to introduce scooters, but they don’t think they can do that under state law,” he said. “We would like to keep them if there’s a way to work through it.”
One way would be to have the Legislature ease the restrictions on the scooters, but that could be a challenge given the time left before the next legislative session starts, Talbot said.
“Given the calendar, it’s unlikely we could get something through this year,” he said.
There is “nothing adversarial” between the city and the company, Talbot said, and the company has given the city positive feedback about it’s time here.
“They’ve been very popular,” he said. “They’ve been a great addition to downtown.”
In a statement, LimeBike Operations Manager Lawrence Underwood said the company hopes to revisit “this with Mobile in the future.”
“We truly value our partnership with the entire community of Mobile and it has been a privilege to be able to work with city leaders and serve its residents and visitors,” the statement read. “We’ve also learned a great deal about the Mobile community’s desire for more convenient, green transportation options and we are proud of the city for being forward-thinking about micromobility.”
However, if LimeBike does go through with its plans to leave, Talbot said, the city would reach out to other similar companies. Talbot said LimeBike would remain in the city at least through Mardi Gras.
The California-based company announced in March of last year its intention to develop a market in the Port City. The bikes were put in place in August.
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