Wondering what's up with the green scooters parked all over Denver? Want to know how to get signed up to use 'em? We have your answers.
By now, everyone who lives or spends time in Denver has seen those electric scooters racing through the city. On July 25, 2018, Denver Public Works approved five companies to operate their electric scooter programs in the city. Bird and Lime launched their programs in the spring, but neither had the approval to do so. Everyone was startled to see this innovative program, but the popularity could not be denied.
I remember seeing someone who had been running late to work riding one of the scooters at a pretty high speed through a busy intersection. My first reaction was that the woman was A) going way too fast and B) had picked the scooter up since she was running late. Over time, it felt like every walk to lunch included avoiding awkwardly parked scooters on the sidewalks.
The City of Denver is hoping to address both of these issues now that they have proper oversight.
According to a Lime spokesperson, the maximum speed limit is 15 miles per hour. This may not seem fast, but the scooters are a bit harder for pedestrians to pick up while using crosswalks. Safety needs to be practiced by both parties to make this program work. Both of the company websites include instructions on how to ride the scooters in crowded cities as well other safety elements like that helmets should be worn at all times and the scooters should be parked by the curbside.
Denver has taken the parking regulations a step further.
The Regional Transit District (RTD) released a notice on July 26 stating, "parked dockless bikes and/or scooters must not impede pedestrian flow and must not block ADA ramps. There must be at least three (3) feet of sidewalk clearance to allow for passage of mobility devices such as wheelchairs".
Riders are expected to stay on the sidewalk even though the scooters are motorized, which should motivate riders to keep speeds lower. After doing some research, I feel confident this program can be implemented safely. Riders must have a valid driver's license, be age 18 or older, and bring their own helmet.
So how do we sign up?
For example, if you want to rent the Lime-S scooter, it costs $1 to unlock and just 15 cents per minute of riding. The app also shows you the scooter's battery levels and the bikes have a 20-mile range, so the scooters will be extremely useful for short rides (about five miles). Not only can you get to your destination for a cheap price, but overcrowding shouldn't become an issue either.
There are roughly 2,000 scooters out right now. The city expects to have just over 3,00 by early 2019.
Personally, I'm really excited about this program and I have high hopes about the companies who are involved. Lime has already informed Denver they will be contributing to city plans to create more bike lanes around the city. Lime also implements a program to place bikesharing programs all over the country on college campuses. Eventually, the scooters and bikes will be able to share these walkways.
The ride sharing format of Uber has triggered a sweeping revolution of similar products, and there will be even more innovation coming out in the future. For now, Denver has shown a commitment to being open to new transportation ideas. If there are less cars on the road, everyone is a winner.
There are concerns about rider safety and where the bikes should be stored when not being used, but I feel confident these issues can be addressed. The scooters are picked up overnight and placed in commonly used areas for the next day. I always enjoy stretching my legs and getting my steps in, but these scooters are extremely useful for trips over a mile.
Will you be trying out these scooters? Have you already used one? Share your thoughts or experience below.