Overland Park introduces e-bikes — Here’s what you need to know

The long-anticipated electric bikes, supplied by Bird Ride Inc., have officially flocked to the Overland Park area as of late last week. Photo courtesy Overland Park's Facebook page.

The long-anticipated electric bikes have officially flocked to the Overland Park area as of late last week.

The details: A total of 40 e-bikes supplied by Bird Rides Inc. are now available to ride in various parts of the city. Overland Park officials have been exploring the concept since 2018.

  • The bikes are part of a two-year pilot program the Overland Park City Council unanimously approved in February.
  • In addition to the bikes, the city introduced 75 electronic scooters in April as part of the program.
  • Most of the bikes can be located in northern Overland Park, but city officials said they are working to expand into southern portions of the city.

How it works: To rent a bike, riders must first download the free Bird-Ride Electric mobile app, which shows a map of where both the bikes and scooters can be located.

  • Under the rental program, riders are charged 25 cents a ride via the app, with Bird collecting the money for the city.
  • When using the bikes, riders must:
    • not park in the street or in a way that impedes pedestrians,
    • ride on the street is allowed but to the right of street lanes,
    • give way to pedestrians on sidewalks and paths,
  • Riders are also strongly recommended to wear a helmet.
  • The bikes are programmed to shut off once beyond the city’s boundaries, unless the trip is into another participating city.

Background: Bird competed against another e-scooter vendor, Lime, to supply the city with electronic vehicles, but Bird won the contract after councilmembers expressed an interest in adding the bikes to the pilot program.

  • The company is the same vendor that obtained a one-year pilot program in Prairie Village last year.
  • Bird also operate fleets of electronic scooters in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas.

Timeline: Overland Park’s pilot program began with the release of 75 scooters within city limits in April.

  • City officials say the fleet of electric ride-share vehicles in Overland Park could expand to a total of 400 during the program before it ends in November 2023.
  • The city has been studying the electronic vehicle idea since 2018, when companies started approaching them about launching a program similar to the ones in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas.