The Bethpage Ride bike rack on West Main Street, near the community garden and Grangebel Park. Photo: Alek Lewis

Bicycle rides in Riverhead Town made up 24% of the rides in Suffolk County’s Bethpage Ride program in the three months since the town joined the rideshare program.

According to Chris Dimon, the cofounder PedalShare, operator of the Bethpage Ride program, there have been 292 rentals in Riverhead between the program’s launch in May and the end of July. The program’s users have ridden about 895.3 miles in Riverhead, with an average length of 3.06 miles per ride, Dimon said. Riverhead is one of more than a half-dozen locations where PedalShare is operating.

Bikes at Veterans Memorial Park accounted for 85% of Riverhead’s rentals and the most of any one location in Suffolk County, according to Dimon. The stations at the Peconic Riverfront and the River and Roots Community Garden on West Main Street were the second and third most used respectively. 

Riverhead Town Councilman Ken Rothwell, who led negotiations with Dimon to implement the program after Suffolk’s previous rideshare partner, Zagster, ended its bikeshare program in June 2020, said in a call today that Bethpage Ride had “exceeded expectations” in its first few months.

“I’m very proud of the program and I’m happy that it’s being utilized by residents,” Rothwell said.

Residents can access Bethpage Ride bikes using a free app available for smartphones. Rentals cost $4 per hour or $35 per day, with annual memberships priced at $59 that come with unlimited one-hour rides.

Bethpage Ride has added 1,634 new users from May to July, with 2,927 total users as of July 31. The rideshare service has rented out over 1,200 bikes with an average rental time of one hour and six minutes.

There have been no incidents with riders across the system, Dimon said, and no bicycles have been lost or stolen.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: alek@riverheadlocal.com