Seattle sees positive results from scooter share pilot, lays groundwork for full-time program

Apr 18, 2022, 6:55 AM
Seattle scooter share...
Scooters parked in Seattle. (SDOT courtesy photo)
(SDOT courtesy photo)

An evaluation of electric scooters in Seattle yielded largely positive results, detailing how they were used during a one-year pilot period, and the city’s plans for the future.

E-scooters roll out in Seattle as part of one-year pilot program

The pilot program rank between September 2020 and October 2021, starting with permits for three companies — Lime, Link, and Wheels — each of whom were allowed to start with fleets of 2,000 scooters each. In July of 2021, Spin was added as a fourth provider.

During that period, the Seattle Department of Transportation estimates that roughly 260,000 riders took 1.4 million scooter share trips. In a fall 2021 survey where 4,700 of riders responded, 43% reported using e-scooters for social/recreational reasons. Another 22% said they used them as part of their daily commute, while 15% rode them to or from restaurants, bars, and takeout, 12% for errands, and 6% for shopping.

Scooters also proved helpful for those using public transit, with 21% of riders using them to connect to buses or trains. Of those, “over half said they would have used a taxi, ride-hail, or personal vehicle if scooter share had not been available.”

One of the larger concerns leading up to the approval of the pilot program surrounded the potential for injuries, an issue which has been prevalent in other cities. That said, SDOT found that although 11% of those surveyed reported experiencing an injury while using an e-scooter, just 2.3% sought medical attention. The most prominent reasons cited for those injuries included raised pavement, potholes, debris, and “changes in the right-of-way.”

Why e-scooters have been dangerous for riders in cities like Seattle

“Some noted driver inattentiveness and being struck or needing to veer away from those driving too close,” SDOT described.

In other cities, law enforcement and local leaders have reported an increase in instances where people have used bikeshares to flee from crimes. A review of over 8,000 police reports in Seattle did not see a similar trend take shape for the city’s e-scooters, finding just 17 incidents “in which a scooter rider was involved.” And in some of those case, SDOT could also “not verify if the scooter was privately owned or part of the scooter share pilot program.

With Seattle’s pilot program having wrapped up last fall, the city will now begin accepting applications for a “competitive permit application process,” where as many as four scooter share operators will be chosen to operate full-time.

“This could include companies operating today, as well as new ones,” SDOT clarified, detailing how it plans to focus on growing ridership equity in underserved areas, distributing helmets, and working to reduce obstructions caused by scooters parked in public rights of way.

You can read SDOT’s full evaluation at this link.

Local News

police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
7 hours ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Preparations underway for NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Climate Pledge Arena

March Madness is coming to Seattle, and Climate Pledge Arena is decked out in blue, orange and black as it prepares for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
7 hours ago
Ted Buehner

Big change with rain dropping temperatures, snow in the passes

Enjoy today’s warm sunshine because a big change is coming in the weather again, as much cooler temperatures than average and wet conditions return
1 day ago
cap rent criminal background checks...
L.B. Gilbert

Judge rules against Seattle ban on criminal background checks for renters

Discrimination against those with criminal background checks is still illegal but the ruling allows landlords to ask about criminal records.
1 day ago
gas works park...
L.B. Gilbert

1 dead, 1 injured in overnight shooting at Gas Works Park

Shortly after 11:30 p.m., officers arrived and located two males with gunshot wounds at Gas Works Park Tuesday night. 
1 day ago
Seattle Starbucks strike...
L.B. Gilbert

Starbucks union calls for strikes, pickets ahead of shareholder meeting

Café employees and their supporters protested outside company headquarters in downtown Seattle on Wednesday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Seattle sees positive results from scooter share pilot, lays groundwork for full-time program