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Lime Scooters (and their largest competitor, Bird Scooters) are being dropped off in new cities monthly.
These scooter-sharing companies have expanded so rapidly that many pedestrians and city officials are struggling with how to deal with them.
The scooters are gaining a ton of popularity for people looking to make their commute a little cheaper. Lime pricing is very straightforward: $1 to start, then 15 cents a minute. This pricing often makes them even cheaper than UberPOOL and Lyft Line. The dockless electric scooters are also environmentally friendly and fun to ride.
Seemingly overnight, Lime Scooters have provided a “last-mile” transportation option that people have been looking for. Simply put, they are perfect for those who only need to travel 1-2 miles and don’t want to worry about finding a parking spot for their car.
However, the Lime scooter model only works if there hundreds, if not thousands, of them in each city. Otherwise, renters risk taking a scooter somewhere without having a reliable means of transportation back.
Lime’s solution to this has been to drop of hundreds of scooters in dozens of cities across the United States.
Lime took an approach similar to Bird. They entered each new city in the middle of the night and dropped off hundreds of scooters across the city. Often times, this was to the complete surprise of city officials.
This caught a lot of people off guard – frustrating both city officials and regular citizens. Several major cities started to confiscate the scooters, while others banned them completely.
The news has been quick to cover the scooter bans. But media outlets haven’t showcased where you are allowed to rent Lime Scooters.
That’s why we put together this guide on lime scooter locations. First, we’ll cover how you can check if there are Lime Scooters in your area. Then we’ll provide an up-to-date list of where you can get Lime Scooters.
Finally, we’ll discuss some of the places where scooters are banned. From our research, it seems like the bans are less widespread than the news makes them out to be. Most cities have actually been welcoming of the new mode of transportation.
In What Cities Are Lime Scooters Available?
The easiest way to check if your city allows Lime scooters is to open up the Lime app.
Once downloaded, the application will show a map based on your location. If there are Lime Scooters in your area, you will see scooter icons on the map.
If the scooters are not available, you will see a popup from the company stating they are not yet available. On the Lime website, they also have a form where you can vote to bring Lime Scooters to your city. They also provide an email address where you can email them about getting Lime Scooters in your area.
For an updated list of where Lime Scooters are available, visit this page. You’ll quickly notice that the scooters are in a ton of major cities in California and the East Coast.
Last we checked, this was the complete list of Lime locations. (Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, the Lime website does not make it clear if these are Lime Scooter locations or Lime Bike locations.)
Lime Scooters also provides scooter and electric bike rentals on a handful of college campuses, making the walk between classes a breeze.
Keep in mind, because a campus allows them does not mean the surrounding city allows the scooters. So you can ride them on-campus, but as soon as you take them off-campus, you could be violating local laws.
Lime is also making their presence felt internationally. At the time of writing this article, Lime is available in the following European cities:
As mentioned above, It isn’t clear whether these locations are for Lime Scooters or for Lime Bikes. The best way to tell if Lime Scooters are available in your area is to look at the app. If you only see bicycle icons on the map, then the scooters are probably not available in your area.
You can also contact Lime at email@example.com for more details.
Where are Lime Scooters Banned?
From our research, the news of Lime Scooter bans has been overblown. Some cities have taken action against the scooter company. However, the number of cities is much less than we anticipated.
We take this to mean that Lime is working with cities to introduce their technology to new cities. Most of the bans are temporary, so perhaps the scooters will be more widely available as cities adopt new legislation to accommodate them.
The home of hundreds of tech startups was surprisingly one of the first places to place restrictions on Lime Scooters. But it wasn’t just Lime, they gave Bird the boot as well.
Lime and Bird introduced their scooters to the Bay area at the end of March 2018.
Lime officials announced that the scooters we removed at the beginning of June while they tried to work with city officials. Part of the reason for the temporary removal was The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). The agency reported nearly 2,000 complaints about the scooters during the two months they were allowed in the city.
The SFMTA allowed the return of e-scooters in August, but Lime was not one of the companies allowed to come back.
The city offered two permits to fellow scooter companies Scoot and Skip. The companies were permitted to unleash 625 scooters each for 6 months. At the end of the 6 months, city officials could increase that number to 2,500 each, but it is completely up to their discretion.
We have not heard whether or not Lime will be able to submit a permit application again in the future.
You may have noticed on the list above that Lime is currently operating in quite a few Massachusetts cities.
We found articles referencing a ban on electric scooters in Cambridge, MA, but this leads us to more interesting findings. Cambridge, which is home to many universities including Harvard and MIT, seems like the perfect place for the scooters.
After placing the ban, the city decided they actually want to bring them back. Unfortunately, they found the scooters are actually against state laws.
Why? Because the scooters do not have brake lights or turn signals.
Both city officials and Lime representatives agreed that it would take some time before the scooters are allowed to come back. Lime would not be able to retrofit the scooters, so the laws would likely need to be changed.
We recommend you read this article from the Boston Globe if you’re interested in learning more about the politics behind electric scooters in Massachusetts.
Beverly Hills and West Hollywood
Earlier this summer, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills voted separately to ban Lime scooters within city limits.
The Beverly Hills ban is set to last six months. West Hollywood has not set a timeline for when the scooters could be reintroduced.
Los Angeles almost followed suit, but in September of this year, city officials changed their mind and decided not to ban the scooters in the city. The decision did come with some caveats. Lime and Bird will be limited on how many scooters they can place in the city. The companies are also responsible for removing any scooters left on sidewalks.
Why Are Lime Scooters Banned?
As we mentioned, the news of electric scooter bans has been overblown.
While it is true that the scooters have struggled during their infancy in some key markets, they’ve been able to overcome most of their obstacles.
What obstacles exactly?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons cities are frustrated with the dockless electric scooter craze.
Their Overnight Introduction
Earlier this year, Lime entered cities at night and left hundreds of scooters out in the open. People woke up in the morning to find the scooters all over the place. Some consumers were excited, but many people were thrown off guard.
In fact, some government officials saw it as a semi-hostile approach to introducing the technology, especially given the potential safety issues that they scooters bring.
See also: Are Lime Scooters Legal?
From our research, it sounds like most cities are open to the scooters. As long as it’s done in a responsible way. Cities want to set up appropriate rules that keep riders and pedestrians safe. They also want to make sure companies like Lime are held responsible when something goes wrong.
As we mentioned, safety is a major concern. Lime tries to be very clear about their safety protocols. When you download the app, you have to agree to their terms of service. This rules even state that riders must follow helmet laws, but we have yet to see any type of enforcement.
One of the biggest safety concerns are people riding the scooters on sidewalks, as this is a danger to both riders and pedestrians.
Emergency rooms are starting to report a large increase in scooter related injuries. There is also a story of a person who was charged with driving under the influence after he hit a pedestrian on a sidewalk. And one young man actually died in an electric scooter accident.
We think the scooters can be ridden in a safe and responsible way. However, Lime needs to work with local governments on how to enforce these safety rules.
Speaking of sidewalks, one of the more common complaints about the scooters is how many of them are left on public walkways.
Not only is this annoying for pedestrians, but it can also block walkways for people in wheelchairs.
Given the lack of oversight from Bird and Lime, vandalism of the scooters is another large concern for city officials. There are dozens of reports of citizens defacing or destroying scooters, especially in cities like San Francisco.
It goes without saying that this is a bad way to express frustrations over the rise of these two companies. For those who are upset about these scooters, contact your city officials and request that they change legislation around these scooters.
Will Lime Scooters Stick Around?
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), it appears that Lime Scooters are here to stay.
Venture capitalists are giving a lot of money to the company in hopes that it could be “the next Uber.”
It is true that the company has faced some legal battles, but the overall reception has been positive. The number of cities that allow the scooters far outweighs the number of cities with explicit bans.
The company utilizes green technology and the gig-economy – two areas we see thriving in the future.
We are fans of the freelance charging model, and are excited to see how it continues to evolve.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.