Green e-scooters, bikes hit streets of Grand Rapids

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Lime launched with a fleet of 150 electric-assist bicycles and 300 e-scooters. Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is expanding its shared e-scooter and bike share service pilot with micromobility partner Lime.

The city’s pilot, which has been operating since September 2020 with shared e-scooters operated by Spin, is adding more e-scooters plus electric-assist bicycles operated by Lime. The pilot offers these vehicles for residents and visitors to rent in a 12-square-mile pilot service area, including downtown and various neighborhoods and business districts.

The pilot service area covers 74% of underserved neighborhoods in the city to provide more equitable access to shared micromobility and to evaluate how these services can contribute to Grand Rapids’ multimodal transportation system.

Lime launched last week with a fleet of 150 electric-assist bicycles and 300 e-scooters and will scale up its fleet to as many as 750 e-assist bicycles and e-scooters to match demand.

Through the Lime app available for Android and Apple, people can sign up to begin riding, access information on how to ride electric-assist bicycles and e-scooters safely and find the nearest designated parking zones and available Lime bicycles and scooters.

The city has installed 175 designated parking zones throughout the pilot service area where all e-scooters and bicycles operated by both Lime and Spin must be parked in between trips. City staff currently is adding more designated parking zones for residents and visitors to pick up and drop off vehicles correctly and help maintain sidewalk accessibility, reduce clutter and improve convenience.

All shared micromobility vehicles — Lime electric-assist bicycles and e-scooters and Spin e-scooters — are $1 to unlock plus 25 cents per minute. Like Spin, Lime also offers reduced rates for lower-income residents and nonsmart phone options through its Lime Access program.

The city commission approved $400,000 in August 2020 for an e-scooter and bike share pilot program. This pilot aligns with recommendations in the Equitable Economic Development and Mobility Strategic Plan.

The five-year plan — created through a collaboration among the city’s economic development and Mobile GR departments and more than 100 community stakeholders — seeks to enhance mobility options, increase safety and promote inclusive growth and access to the community.

“Shared electric-assist bicycles and e-scooters offer lower-cost mobility options, especially for shorter distance trips,” said Justin Kimura, assistant director of the Mobile GR department. “We are pleased to partner with Lime to expand transportation mobility options, and we continue to emphasize that users should exercise safe riding habits. This includes wearing a helmet for all rides, riding on the street and not the sidewalk, being aware of pedestrians and other vehicles, and never operating an e-scooter or bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Local Lime staff will be offering virtual and in-person First Ride Academies in Grand Rapids where people can learn basic rules of the road, test ride an e-assist bicycle or e-scooter and pick up a helmet. Riders can also take the Lime Safe Quiz to learn more about safety rules and tips and have a chance to earn ride credits.

“Lime is thrilled to bring its shared electric-assist bicycles and e-scooters to Grand Rapids to provide residents and visitors with affordable, accessible and sustainable ways to move around the city,” said LeAaron Foley, director of government relations at Lime. “Grand Rapids is making great progress toward 21st century transportation solutions that support safer and more equitable community access. We are honored to play our part in helping the city meet these goals and look forward to ensuring our e-assist bicycles and e-scooters have the most positive impact possible.”

Lime disinfects scooters every time they are collected and brought back to its worksite for inspections and repairs. Lime encourages riders to wear masks, use a disinfectant wipe on the handlebars, wash their hands before and after riding or wear gloves as an extra precaution.

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