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Capital Bikeshare will launch electric bikes ‘soon’

The service has rolled out updated legal terms with members to allow for pedal-assist bikes

A Capital Bikeshare station

In an email to members this week, Capital Bikeshare announced that it was updating its terms of service as of Sept. 5. But beneath the legalese was a brief preview of new bikes.

“We have some exciting additions coming to the Capital Bikeshare fleet,” the service said. “Soon we’ll be introducing new pedal-assist bicycles as another solution for getting across Metro-DC.”

The message did not say exactly when or how many electric bikes Capital Bikeshare would bring to the area, or how they would be charged. A representative for the service referred to the District Department of Transportation for comment, and Curbed DC will update this post should the agency respond.

Capital Bikeshare would join Jump, the dockless bike provider that Uber acquired last April, in offering pedal-assist bikes in D.C. Jump currently operates 400 electric bikes under the rules of the dockless bike- and scooter-share pilot program that the District is running and just extended through December. (The pilot program only permits up to 400 vehicles per private operator, and officials say they are aiming to implement long-term rules in 2019.)

Capital Bikeshare’s updated rental agreement and liability waiver with users now include language about electric bikes. Users may only ride pedal-assist bikes where “the battery is locked securely in place in the frame of the Bicycle,” according to the rental agreement.

“You understand that electric bicycles provide a different user experience and may pose different risks and dangers, and You assume those risks with respect to electric Bicycles in the Capital Bikeshare program,” the liability waiver states. “You agree that You understand how electric-assist works and that You are competent to use an electric-assist Bicycle.”

In other Capital Bikeshare news, the service is adding a corral at its Georgetown Harbor station on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The corral is meant to address high demand for docking stations in the neighborhood, the Georgetown Business Improvement District said in a newsletter on Thursday.

The service also recently kicked off a “bike angel” reward program for members who help rebalance its bikes among stations. Points scored through the program can be redeemed for Capital Bikeshare guest passes and free one-week membership extensions.