Coming Soon to Downtown: Shared Electric Bikes

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Coming Soon to Downtown: Shared Electric Bikes

Posted: 08/15/2022
The City’s Shared Dockless Scooter Program is evolving. A new vendor, Bird, has been selected to begin operating in the center city and University of Tennessee areas, joining LINK, which has been serving Knoxville for more than two years. Look for Bird to deploy its first scooters later this week.

But more importantly, the new permits with LINK and Bird include added accountability measures, plans to install parking corrals to reduce overnight scooter clutter, and – for the first time – electric bike shares.

"We are excited to offer a new option for ways we can move around the City with the addition of e-bikes to Knoxville,” said Carter Hall, the City’s Policy and Business Innovation Manager. “We've heard from residents that they've missed the bike share option in Knoxville, and we are happy to bring it back with even more updated options.

“Both LINK and Bird will be deploying bikes that combine the fun of biking with the added convenience of electric assistance. This is a great way to explore our City, replace short-distance car trips, and avoid any worries about parking.”

Each vendor is allowed to stage up to 300 scooters and at least 50 e-bikes. That’s an increase from the current combined maximum of 500 scooters, although the initial number of scooters being deployed is expected to be less than the maximum allowed by the permit.

The new permits come with new safety and accountability requirements.

For example, downtown residents and visitors now have the option of reporting what they view as scooter or e-bike riders’ misbehavior using the My Knoxville app. The process is now easier than ever to assess fines, if necessary, to frequent rule violators through the vendors.

Also, driver’s license verification is required step in registering as a rider with both vendors – a measure to encourage appropriate-age ridership.

Another change: A small number of downtown on-street parking spaces are being converted into parking corrals for electric scooters. This will make for a tidier downtown, as all scooters would be returned to the corrals each night and parked there to start the following day. 

Because the corrals are street-level, they also subtly reinforce the existing rule that scooter passengers only ride on the streets, not sidewalks. Scooter riding is and will continue to be prohibited on sidewalks.

Shared scooters and now e-bikes can play a small role in the City’s long-term goal of reducing communitywide emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050, using 2005 emissions as a baseline.

Taking advantage of a ride share provides an ecologically-friendly option to getting a gas-fueled vehicle out of a downtown garage and driving it to a nearby destination that’s just a bit too far to be easily walkable.

"We heard very strong support for low-emissions mobility from the Mayor's Climate Council," said Brian Blackmon, the City's Sustainability Director.  "With no fuel burned in the city, scooters and e-bikes provide a low-emissions way for folks to get to their favorite places in the city quickly."

For more information on Knoxville’s Shared Dockless Scooter and E-bike Program, visit