When you need to zip around the city but not break a sweat – or your wallet – electric scooters are a fun and environmentally friendly option.
Many cities now have rentable scooters that help you get where you’re going without being burdened by traffic or crowded public transportation.
Lime-S, along with Bird, is leading the charge in the electric scooter market.
Still, there are some obstacles to having them in every city. Some have banned them due to pedestrian fears of being run over on the sidewalk or hesitation by businesses that want to keep the sidewalks clear of dockless scooters awaiting pickup from the scooter rental companies.
Before you hop on this trend and ride away, learn more about what electric scooters are, how to charge them, safely ride them, and how to use them with consideration for pedestrians, businesses, and the law.
- What are Lime Scooters?
- Are Lime Scooters Legal?
- How Do Lime Scooters Work?
- Riding a Lime Scooter
- How Much Do Lime Scooters Cost?
- Lime Scooter Rules
- Working for Lime Scooters
- How Much do Lime Juicers Make?
- Our Take on Lime Scooters
What are Lime Scooters?
LimeBike started out as a bikeshare program in California. But they recently expanded its fleet of electric bikes to include electric scooters. They started in San Francisco and moved on to deploye them in several cities and on college campuses.
The dockless system makes getting to your specific destination hassle-free. You rent the charged scooter, go where you’re going, and Lime picks it up where you leave it.
Renting a Lime Scooter is simple: you use the Lime app to find a scooter, pay, and unlock the scooter. Then you just take and off and go. They’re fun to ride and take less effort than other micromobility options.
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 Do Lime Scooters Work?
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:
- Download the app and follow the steps to create your account
- Enter your credit card info (it’s secure)
- When you’re in, 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
- 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
When you have the scooter unlocked you are good to ride away. Don’t forget to unlock it – some Lime scooters have a built-in alarm if you use them without the app. They are phasing out the current alarm, but if you get one with it, you may be embarrassed when it goes off.
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.
How Much Do Lime Scooters Cost?
Lime is dedicated to making eco-friendly transportation affordable so that more riders are able to get of traffic gridlock. Unlocking the scooter only costs a buck and then there is a small fee per minute that you have it unlocked. In most cities that small fee is 15 cents a minute.
One of the best features of the Lime app is that it gives you a heads up on the cost as you ride. The app is always keeping track of the time and the distance and it tells you how much your ride is going to cost. It charges you when you relock the scooter.
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.
Working for Lime Scooters
Want to earn a little extra cash, contribute to making scooters a success, and get in on the popularity of Lime Scooters? Become a Lime Juicer – a caretaker and scooter recharger that gets paid to make scooters ready to go for morning commuters. We think this is a great alternative to driving for Uber or Lyft because it is a great change of pace from picking up passengers.
Here’s what you do:
- At the end of the day, you collect Lime Scooters with low batteries from where they’ve been dropped off
- Carry them to your home in your own vehicle (truck, van, large sedan, etc.)
- Charge them overnight
- In the morning, Lime will tell you where to drop them early – just in time for eager commuters
To become a Lime Juicer, just sign up on their website. It’s fast and easy. They’ll ask you for the usual basic personal information and contact info as well as banking details so they can pay you by direct deposit. Lime also wants to know if you have a vehicle large enough to fit the scooters and take them home.
After you sign up, Lime will contact you by phone or email and tell you what their expectations are and more on what you need to do. You will need to buy the chargers which come in four packs. When you’re an approved Juicer, the “Juicer” mode on the app will be available to you and you can start collecting scooters.
Scooter collection starts after 8 p.m. Then you just take them home and charge them and wait to be contacted by the app in the morning for drop off instructions. You need to have them at their designated location by 7 a.m. Once you placed them, you click “Served” on the app to see how much money you netted for helping Lime juice the scooters.
How Much do Lime Juicers Make?
Lime scooter charges are paid per charge – about $5 per scooter on average for a 95% charge. It takes 5-7 hours to charge if the battery is very low, but many scooters are at mid-level when picked up and only require a 2-3 hour charge. You’ll need to keep this in mind when picking up scooters to be sure you can support that number of scooters before you head out to drop them off in the morning.
Use a bit of strategy and pick up scooters in near you to save on your own gas to maximize your profit. If you collect six scooters near where you live or work, you save on gas and get to keep most of the $30 you earned charging 6 scooters.
There are a few stories of scooter chargers making a ton of money but mostly think of this as a side hustle that helps the environment and people.
Plus, if you already live near heavy pedestrian traffic areas like shopping districts, work plazas, colleges, or parks, you can make some extra cash without too much effort.
Our Take on Lime Scooters
Lime has given commuters a gift by providing an electric scooter option and it’s up to riders to make sure the culture grows into something beneficial for cities that residents will appreciate and support for its lower impact on the environment and the relief it will have on traffic congestion.
Currently, some Lime users are abusing the scooters by damaging them, hiding them, storing them behind gates, and parking them illegally. Some riders are scaring pedestrians by whizzing past or jumping curbs.
Claims of dangerous scooter drivers and cluttered sidewalks have made city officials reticent to issue permits to electric scooter rental companies like Lime.
It will be interesting to see what happens as the scooter trend evolves into an accepted mode of transportation. We are looking forward to seeing how cities and people adapt to this new technology. It will also be interesting to see how this disrupts the ridesharing industry.