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Shared electric scooters pilot program launches in King County

Lime scooters wait for customers at Auckland's Wynyard Wharf on November 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

A one-year pilot program for shared electric scooters launched Monday in King County in the North Highline Urban Unincorporated Area, including White Center. Shared scooters operate similarly to bike share programs, where anyone can access a scooter using a smartphone app, ride to their destination, and leave it in an appropriate location.

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The new electric scooters are operated by Lime, which has tested both bike and car share programs in Seattle over the past few years. It is still possible to ride if you don’t have a smartphone or credit card, just contact Lime to learn about its discounted program for qualified riders.

King County says shared scooter use is increasing where they are available, as riding alone and outside is thought to be a safer alternative to other modes of transportation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While the county says touching a surface that has the COVID-19 virus is not the main way this virus spreads, they do recommend not touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching other surfaces. Riders may also sanitize the scooter handlebars, wear gloves, or use hand sanitizer after riding to further limit any potential spread.

Helmets are required for electric scooter riders, but not provided. All riders are also encouraged to wear a mask when outdoors. It costs $1 to unlock the scooter and 36 cents per minute to ride.

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Only one person is allowed per scooter, and riders must abide by the company’s rider age restrictions. Riders must also obey traffic laws and yield to pedestrians. Electric scooters should only be used on roads with speeds of 25 miles an hour or less. Do not ride on sidewalks or in parks, and do not operate a scooter under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When parked, scooters should not block sidewalks, ramps, or doorways.

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