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From Scoot and Wheels to Spin and Lyft, countless companies around the world are cashing in on the demand for electric scooters. But even among the hundreds of competing brands trying to make it big in the industry, Lime scooters continue to stand out as a long-time rider favorite.
Founded in San Francisco in early 2017, Lime is a micro-mobility company best known for fueling the expansion of dockless electric scooters. It entered the modern scooter-sharing industry early on, introducing the concept to many major cities and college campuses. Since then, the concept of scooter-sharing has become widely known, shaping intracity transportation nearly as much as rideshare apps.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to Lime scooters and explain how you can rent them for your next ride.
- What Are Lime Scooters?
- Are Lime Scooters Legal?
- How Much Do Lime Scooters Cost?
- How To Sign Up for Lime
- Renting Scooters With the Lime App
- Renting Lime Scooters on the Uber App
- Riding a Lime Scooter
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Lime Scooters?
Lime scooters — also known as Lime-S scooters — are electric scooters customers can rent by the minute and “return” by parking the scooters safely near their destination. They run up to 15 miles per hour for about 20 miles on a full-charge. And, they’re a great transportation option for anyone who wants to explore their city or for commuters who need convenient, affordable rides to work.
Riders can simply find, pick up, and rent these shared scooters day or night — even during light rain or snow. That means they can be a fairly reliable last-minute ride.
Are Lime Scooters Legal?
Several cities welcome electric scooters but others have banned them or have prohibited their use in certain areas or situations. In some cities, ordinances were not in place for the safe use of scooters when they were introduced. Scooters will probably get a green light once local laws and safety issues are hammered out and implemented.
Some things that bother the residents of these cities are riders without helmets that pass walkers too fast or too close. Riders also leave scooters in the path of walkers or they stack up in front of businesses. In Santa Monica, scooter riders looking to avoid tickets for illegal sidewalk riding parked a ton of scooters just before the point of no return. The cops weren’t happy about cleaning it up.
Scooter companies like Lime are working hard to make the changes cities want. They’re focusing on safety programs and on making scooter rentals affordable for low-income users. Lime itself encourages users to be mindful and considerate so that cities see the scooters in a good light and keep them rolling.
To find out if Lime scooters are available in your city, check the smartphone app. If Lime scooters are available in your area, you will see icons (that look like limes) near your location. At the time of writing this article, Lime scooters are available in many major cities across America, including:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- St. Louis
- San Diego
- New York
- + Many More
Many universities and college campuses have Lime scooters available as well. If you’re in a larger city, you may find that Lime isn’t legal in one neighborhood but may be in the next. For instance, in LA, they’re banned in Beverly Hills, you can ride but not park in West Hollywood, and you can ride and park in other areas of the city.
How Much Do Lime Scooters Cost?
Lime scooters are made to be extremely affordable for short-distance rides. While exact costs vary by city, they can usually be rented for a $1 unlock fee and a 15 cents-per-minute charge.
Unlike many on-demand mobility apps, Lime does not charge higher rates during times of high demand, so you can rely on your city’s flat fees. You can find these rates on your app by tapping any scooter icon or the “Scan to Ride” button. The only reason any other fees might be added would be if you park in a no-parking zone, like a pedestrian walkway or handicap ramp, and Lime forwards you the fine.
In select markets, frequent Lime scooter users can save money by purchasing a LimePass, which provides unlimited, free unlocks for seven consecutive days for a one-time $4.99 fee. Since unlock fees are typically $1, you would get your money back in as few as five rentals.
You can also cut costs by refilling your virtual wallet with Lime Cash, which is store credit you can use on any ride. Lime provides a free dollar when you add $20 to your account or $2 when you add $30.
How To Sign Up for Lime
Before you start riding with Lime, you need to meet a few requirements. Then, you will complete a simple signup process in the app. Below, we outline what you need to know in order to sign up.
While Lime scooters are generally safe to ride, the company does have some rider requirements to further prevent injury. To use Lime, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a valid U.S. driver’s license
- Wear a helmet while riding
- Follow local traffic laws
Local traffic laws typically ask you to ride in bike lanes whenever possible, stop at red lights and stop signs, and drive within the speed limit. Scooters are set to not exceed the city’s maximum speed limit for non-highway driving. But if you run into lower limits (for example, 10 miles per hour), you’re expected to abide by these limits.
It’s against Lime rules to ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or to use your phone while riding.
Users must also have a smartphone that runs on Android 5.0, iOS 10.0, or a later operating system to use the Lime app.
Step-by-Step Sign-Up Process
1. Open the app and start the sign-up process.
You’ll need to either submit your phone number, tap “Continue with Facebook,” or tap “More” and sign up with your email.
2. Verify account
Connect your Facebook account or verify your phone number or email as prompted. Agree to Lime’s user agreement and privacy notice to proceed.
3. Grant location access
Give Lime access to your location on your smartphone. This allows Lime to locate scooters in your area.
4. Connect payment method
Tap “Add Credit/Debit Card” to connect your payment method. Alternatively, you can tap “Skip.” If you choose to skip at this time, you’ll need to add the method before your first ride. To do this, open your app menu, select “Wallet,” and tap “Add” under “Payment Methods.”
Once you’ve finished these easy steps, you’ll have access to the platform and can rent your first scooter.
Renting Scooters With the Lime App
Easy. You can locate Lime scooters using the app and then unlock them by scanning a QR code. Or, if you happen upon a scooter that isn’t in use, you just unlock it. When your ride is over, you relock it and the app dings your credit card and charges you – usually a dollar per ride + 15 cents per minute.
Here’s the breakdown:
- When you open the Lime app, a map will show you where the nearest Lime scooter and electric bikes are to your location
- Check the map for the scooter nearest you with the most full charge (it tells you what the battery life is or how far it will go)
- Go to the location and find the scooter
- If you don’t immediately see the scooter, there’s an option in the app to make it ring and reveal its location
- Once you get to your Lime scooter, make sure it’s undamaged. If it’s damaged, tap the “!” button on your screen and select “damaged vehicle” to report the issue and remove the scooter from your app.
- To unlock the Lime, tap the “Ride” button at the bottom of the screen in the app and then scan the QR code on the scooter using your phone’s camera – or, you can enter the 6 digit vehicle code under the QR code if you have problems getting the scan
If you get errors, you can try manually entering the code beneath the QR code. If this still doesn’t work, someone on the Lime team is likely on the way to pick it up for maintenance. In this case, you’ll need to choose a different scooter.
Once your phone confirms a successful scan, you can unlock the kickstand and start your ride. If a cable lock is attached, you’ll get some additional instructions to unlock your Lime scooter.
Lime recommends testing the scooter’s brakes before you take off. If you’ve never used an electric scooter before, familiarize yourself with balancing on the Lime scooter, using the throttle on the right-hand side to accelerate, and using the hand brake to slow down.
Throughout your ride, your app will let you know if you enter a zone that requires lower speeds. If you enter a zone that doesn’t allow scooters, your scooter should automatically slow to a stop. It will start up again once you walk it out of the area.
Renting Lime Scooters on the Uber App
Recently, Lime expanded its availability by acquiring JUMP, Uber’s scooter-share and bike-share brand. As the company did so, it partnered with Uber to make Lime scooters available to rent directly through the Uber app.
If you live in a Lime market and have an Uber account, you don’t need to sign up for Lime to rent a scooter. Just open the Uber app, tap “Ride” on your home screen, and select “Bike & Scooter.” This will pull up instructions for finding and unlocking scooters on the third-party platform, and show scooter pricing in your area.
Once you locate your Lime scooter via the Uber app, the unlocking process is similar to the process on the Lime app. Your Uber app will walk you through it. At the end of your ride, follow all parking rules as stated above and end your ride through your Uber app.
Riding a Lime Scooter
Getting ready to ride a Lime Scooter is a piece of cake. There is a three-step process to the pre-ride safety check:
- Manually pump the hand brakes to be sure they are taught
- Look at the tires to make sure they aren’t damaged
- Give the body a once-over to check for any cracks or structural damage
If your safety check uncovers any problems with the scooter, report it to Lime by tapping the exclamation point in the lower left corner of the map screen on the app. Don’t ride a scooter that isn’t safe. Check the area for another Lime that’s ready to go.
You ride the Lime by standing on it with one foot, kicking off, and then standing on it sideways as you accelerate using thumb shifting on the handlebars. You brake using a handbrake on the handlebar just like on a bike.
To see a demonstration of how easy it is, check out this short video.
Novice riders might want to take a short trip in the immediate area to get used to the feel, so block in some time for that for your first Lime experience.
To get an idea of how far and how fast you’ll go with a Lime Scooter, expect to go between 9-11 mph when your ride is unobstructed. The max speed is 14.8 mph but you should remember to be cautious and watch out for potholes and pedestrians. And even though the max speed is listed at under 15 mph, we’ve heard plenty of stories of people reaching speeds over 20 mph.
Balancing is made easier by solid, stable 8” wheels so it won’t be like trying to balance on an old school kid’s scooter. The 250-watt motor is monitored by the app so that you can see how much juice you have and what your remaining mileage range is.
When you’re done with your ride, put the bike in a place that’s visible for the next rider but that isn’t blocking traffic, pedestrians, or businesses, and that is not on someone’s private property. To lock the scooter, just tap “End Ride” in the app.
Lime Scooter Rules
Keeping scooter share programs accessible and growing will be an important boon for our environment and our sanity. They cut down on traffic and on smog. So, even though Lime can’t enforce these rules, do follow them to make scooter sharing more attractive to the city governments that do make enforceable rules.
Here are Lime’s etiquette suggestions:
- Park properly by the curbside
- Follow traffic laws
- Use the handbrake to stop
- Resist stunt riding for your own safety and for those in your path
- Don’t ride in pedestrian pathways
- Watch out for potholes, rocks, and other obstacles
Follow these rules:
- You must be 18 or over to drive a scooter
- Wear a helmet (your own, so bring it with you)
- Have a valid driver’s license
Using the scooters safely and parking them with care will be noticed. The cities that have banned or delayed scooter use did so because of resident, business owner, and law enforcement complaints of how the scooters were being driven, used, and parked.
Parking Your Scooter
When you’ve reached your destination or you want your ride to end, first look at your app to ensure you’re in a zone where parking and locking your Lime scooter is permitted.
Then, put down your kickstand to park the scooter somewhere out of pedestrian pathways. Look for a place where it would normally be safe to park a bike. Parking on wheelchair ramps, near hospital entrances and fire stations, and inside gated communities is not allowed. Lime scooters with cable locks can only be parked at bike racks.
To close out your rental and stop all per-minute fees, tap “Lock” on your app (and physically lock it with your cable lock if needed), push down on your scooter’s rear wheel lever and end your ride on the app.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lime is one of many scooter startups that brought rise to a new transportation option that has taken over the world.
For more information about Lime scooters, read these frequently asked questions:
Where are Lime scooters available to rent?
Lime scooters are available in nearly 20 states in the U.S. — including New York, California, and Texas — and in Washington, D.C. Some college campuses have directly partnered with the scooter company to create easier transportation access for students. Internationally, Lime is available in select European, Asian, South American, and Australian cities.
View the complete list of Lime cities and campuses to see where you can ride these e-scooters and where operations are temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Does Lime have any other products besides the Lime-S scooter?
Yes, Lime also offers Lime-E electric bikes and standard Lime pedal bikes in select cities. These Lime bikes can be rented through the same process used for electric scooter rentals on both the Lime app and Uber app.
Can I make money by charging Lime scooters?
Absolutely. If you’re interested in earning money to supplement your scooter usage or to meet your financial goals, you can sign up to be a Lime charger. Better known as Juicers, Lime chargers can earn money just by picking up, charging, and re-distributing scooters on their own schedule. Juicers can make up to $30 per hour with this easy, flexible gig.
Explore Your City With Ease
With both bikes and scooters available to rent around the world, Lime has quickly become a leader in micro-mobility. The scooter-sharing and bike-sharing company makes it easier for people like you to explore international cities and pay to ride by the minute. Plus, with its dockless model, you won’t even have to travel far to return it.
Of course, Lime hasn’t taken over every city in the world. If you’re in a city where Lime doesn’t operate, there’s a chance that Bird — another of the first brands to popularize dockless electric scooters — does. Learn how Bird scooters work, so you can have a scooter option in more of the cities you travel to.
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.