The Suffolk County bike share program is sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union. Photo: PedalShare/Facebook

The town board yesterday approved an agreement to bring the PedalShare bike-share program to Riverhead.

PedalShare has already acquired the bikes and racks it will place in Riverhead and is ready to go as soon as the town gets them a signed contract, said Councilman Ken Rothwell, who brought the Southampton-based company to the town board last month. The program should be up and running next month, he said.

The town is still working out the details of rack locations, Rothwell said. The idea is to encourage visitors to Riverhead, especially those arriving by train, to use the bicycles to tour the downtown area. A bike rack will be located in the railroad plaza area and two more will likely be placed on the riverfront downtown, Rothwell said.

One rack will be located at the non-motorized trail in Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton, the councilman said.

“The nine-mile trail is the gem of eastern Long Island,” he said.

Many people who don’t have their own bikes or can’t transport them to the Calverton park will welcome the chance to rent a bike for an hour or two and cycle around the park, Rothwell said.

The bike rentals are $4 per hour or $35 per day, with annual memberships priced at $59. The annual membership provides unlimited one-hour rides.

Fees are paid and rentals are completed using an app available for free download on the App Store and Google Play.

There is no cost to the town. Revenue for the company is generated by user fees and program sponsorships.

The PedalShare program is very flexible and bike racks can be sized or moved according to demand, Rothwell said.

“I think it’s going to be a great success,” he said. “I’m excited about it.

Riverhead signed onto Suffolk County’s fledgling bike share program in the fall of 2019. The county had partnered with the micro-mobility company Zagster for the service. Riverhead was the fourth Suffolk municipality to sign up for the program, which was scheduled to launch in Riverhead last spring.

Then COVID struck and nearly everything unrelated to pandemic management ground to a halt. Then Zagster ended its bike-share operations nationwide. In June, the venture capital company that owned Zagster sold the Boston start-up to an electric scooter developer and manufacturer and Zagster was out of the bike-share business.

After Zagster discontinued its bike-share operations, Suffolk County reached out to PedalShare, according to company cofounder Chris Dimon.

PedalShare launched in 2018 with a pilot bike-share program in Southampton Village, which is where Rothwell, an avid cyclist, first encountered the company. PedalShare was soon operating in other East End hamlets. When Rothwell was appointed to the Riverhead Town Board in January, bringing a bike-share program to town was one of the first things he pursued.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.