Pawtucket watching Providence 
on ‘jailbreaking’ of rental bikes

Pawtucket watching Providence 
on ‘jailbreaking’ of rental bikes

PAWTUCKET – Following a story in Providence last week on a mob of youths on rental bicycles blocking traffic and assaulting people, City Councilor Tim Rudd said officials in Pawtucket have to be prepared for the same scenario and be proactive in preventing such events.

He said he hopes to work with Mayor Donald Grebien’s administration, local police and his council colleagues to develop a plan that works.

There have been a number of issues with the bikes in Providence, including many of them being vandalized or driven to other communities.

Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo said this week that the big issue happening right now in Providence, which has “nothing to do with Pawtucket,” involves people “jailbreaking the software on the bikes” and taking them out of the service area.

“Certainly we’d take a look at issues as they come around,” he said, and “monitor and adjust with the companies as needed,” but there’s no reason to believe there are a lot of issues that can’t be resolved with a program that’s successful across the country and around the world.

“These are all over the place for a reason,” he said, including for the convenience of people being able to get around without having to spend a lot of money. The program in Pawtucket will help link residents with public transit, including a coming new train station, he said.

“It helps people get to where they need to go,” he said.

The same companies running rental bike and scooter programs in Providence are said to be preparing a move into Pawtucket after the City Council previously updated ordinances to allow them. Zelazo said formal agreements will be the next step in the process after rules are finalized, but didn’t have a definite date for when the bikes will be available.

The new program in Pawtucket will be on a one-year trial basis, noted Zelazo. Officials will evaluate it, work with the vendor and council members, and hold people accountable as necessary.