Which do you choose: Bikeshare, scooter, or a horse?
The scenario: You’re pressed for time and you need to get from Eastlake to SoDo to catch a Seattle Mariners game.
“Let me give you three choices,” said KIRO Radio’s John Curley. “You want to go down to a Mariners game. There’s a scooter, a yellow bike, or a horse. And you are allowed to just leave the horse. Just tie him up when you’re done. And it’s a good-looking horse, nothing with flies. What do you choose?”
The scooter was the in-studio favorite, despite the opportunity to ride a horse. And it seems to be gaining popularity in Seattle, despite not being an available rideshare option in the city. As GeekWire reports, LimeBike is not settling with just its sharable manual and electric bikes in town. It aims to launch shareable electric scooters as well.
The scooters operate like LimeBike’s bicycles that are rented using a smartphone app. A simple push starts the ride. There’s a throttle to give an electric boost, and a handbrake to stop. Elsewhere, they cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride.
The bikeshare company has been parading its electric scooters around Seattle events to gain public approval. But actually launching the scooters may be more difficult than the bikes.
“Right now, they are not available (in Seattle),” KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney pointed out. “They are demonstration models. Todd Bishop from GeekWire got a chance to try one out. The electric shareable bikes are Lime-E, and the electric scooters are the Lime-S.”
“In San Francisco, (scooters) just kind of appeared without regulations,” he said. “They were left here and there, and there was some pushback from the public. There is a moratorium on them until they can figure out how they want them to operate.”
There’s a similar story in Seattle. The city has placed a moratorium on the scooters. Seattle officials say they want to finalize the stationless bikeshare program first, before allowing additional modes of transportation. That could take until July.
Still, a legal maze is ahead if scooters want to come to Seattle. Motorized scooters are not allowed on Seattle sidewalks. Non-motorized bikes are, however.
Lawmakers in Olympia have just made things a bit more complicated, too.
As Curbed points out, the state ended rules keeping electric bikes off sidewalks (any electric bike that goes over 20 mph is still banned from sidewalks). Class 1 and 2 e-bikes won’t have age restrictions and will be allowed on sidewalks unless local laws state otherwise.
Whether or not Seattle stalls the scooters’ arrival in the city, they may show up anyway. As GeekWire reports:
We’re hearing that LimeBike is exploring the possibility of deploying Lime-S scooters at a large tech campus in the area, so they may become a more common sight around here regardless of what the city does.
If and when the scooters do come to Seattle, there seems to be a positive reception ready for them.
“I would use that thing,” Curley said. “Leave the car here, and head on down. I don’t have enough business in the city that I need to use those bikes all the time, but they are convenient. But man, it’s fast and easy. If they have a scooter, I’d do that too. I’d want the exercise, so I’d likely use the big heavy bikes they have.”