NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Officials have launched a new shuttle service to help cyclists travel across bridges safely.
Currently, cyclists are not allowed to bike across the bridges. But Bari Freeman of Bike Newport, the organization who spearheaded the project, says each summer they see an increasing desire to change that.
“I would say on a daily basis through the summer we receive a call of two from people who want to get across the bridges [by bicycle],” Freeman said.
For the next few months, two vehicles will transport riders and their bicycles across the Pell and Verrazano bridges. The service will be available to cyclists from June 30 through Oct. 13.
“For the next 16 Saturdays, bridges will not get in the way of riding to and from Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands,” Freeman said. “We hear too often from folks on bike journeys who just can’t get to Newport, and from cyclists in Newport who’d love to jump the puddles to have lunch in Narragansett.”
Freeman said one of the vehicles will transport cyclists and the other will transport their bicycles. Up to 10 passengers can reserve their spots in advance from pick up locations in Newport, Jamestown or North Kingstown, as well as returns and intermediate rides.
The shuttles are free for anyone to utilize and riders can show up at the pick up and drop off locations without reserving a spot, though reservations are recommended.
Bike Newport partnered with the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority (RIBTA), the Rhode Island YMCA and several other sponsors to provide the shuttles from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday.
The pick up and drop off locations are as follows:
- Newport: Newport Bridge Antiques
- Jamestown: RITBA Offices
- North Kingstown: Route 1A Park and Ride
Freeman said she is working towards a more long-term solution for people to be able to bike across the bridges, but for now, she’s hoping cyclists will take advantage of the shuttle service.
“We need people to ride the shuttle to demonstrate the interest and the more people who ride it the more case we can make for making this happen more than Saturdays 11-5,” Freeman said. “Let’s get it more frequently, then let’s find more permanent solutions.”
Shuttle information, reservations and schedules can be found on the bridge bike shuttle website.