Explore Grand Rapids on e-scooters this weekend

Through the Spin app, riders can sign up and view the map to find the nearest designated parking zone, as well as access information on how to ride scooters safely. Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

The city of Grand Rapids and Ford subsidiary Spin are launching a citywide e-scooter share program.

The pilot program includes a phased deployment of e-scooters in a 12-square-mile area including downtown, neighborhoods and business districts.

“We are thrilled to work with the city to bring this new form of mobility to Grand Rapids residents,” said Frank Speek, Spin’s director of government partnerships – east. “Grand Rapids is taking the lead in creating a program that will meet our goals as a business and the transportation needs of the city. This partnership model will certainly become a blueprint for cities across the country.”

The pilot also will serve 74% of underserved neighborhoods to evaluate how shared micromobility services can contribute to Grand Rapids’ transportation system. Spin will deploy 300 scooters and scale up its fleet to as many as 1,500 to match demand.

Through the Spin app, riders can sign up and view the map to find the nearest designated parking zone, as well as access information on how to ride scooters safely. City staff is installing dozens of marked designated parking zones throughout the pilot service area where e-scooters must be parked in between trips. The designated parking zones will make it easier for residents and visitors to pick-up and drop-off vehicles correctly.

Scooters cost $1 to unlock, plus 15 cents per minute. Spin offers reduced rates for low-income residents, as well as nonsmart phone options through its Spin Access program.

To celebrate the launch, Spin will offer unlimited free rides up to 60 minutes from 6 a.m. Friday to midnight Sunday.

The city commission approved $400,000 for an e-scooter and bike share pilot program last month. The pilot includes various shared micromobility service vehicles, including resident and visitor rentals of electric-assist bicycles, stand-on electric scooters and sit-down electric scooters. A second provider is expected to launch additional mobility options in the coming weeks.

The scooter share pilot aligns with recommendations contained in the equitable economic development and mobility strategic plan. The five-year plan — created through a collaborative effort of the city’s Mobile GR and Economic Development staff and more than 100 community stakeholders — seeks to enhance citywide mobility options and increase safety and promote inclusive growth and access to city services.

“As a solo open-air form of transportation, scooters can offer residents a lower-risk mobility option for short-distance travel,” said Justin Kimura, assistant director of Mobile GR. “We are proud to partner with Spin on this new and eco-friendly transportation option for our residents, commuters and visitors.”

Kimura said ensuring the safety of riders and pedestrians is a priority. In terms of physical safety, Spin’s scooters will operate at a maximum of 10 miles per hour. They also are geofenced via GPS technology, automatically slowing or powering scooters down when they cross a specific geographic line in conflict areas and pedestrian-only zones, such as on college campuses or Calder Plaza.

Users are encouraged to wear helmets and learn basic rules of the road before hopping on a scooter. In addition to wearing a helmet, basic safety includes using hand signals to indicate turns and lane changes, riding on the far right side of the road whenever practicable and riding with the direction of traffic.

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