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If you’ve heard of Lime, there’s a good chance you associate the global brand with its widely popular scooter options. However, before Lime became known as a scooter company, it was known as LimeBike — and it continues to transform micromobility through bike sharing today.
Like many bike sharing companies, Lime has largely pivoted to scooter sharing today, but that doesn’t mean it has done away with its bike share roots altogether. In fact, Lime is one of few companies that are successfully blending scooter and bike services all on one convenient platform.
Today, Lime’s unique smartphone app is making both forms of non-vehicular transportation more convenient than ever.
This article will explain what exactly Lime is and how you can easily access rental bikes and scooters through the platform.
- What Is Lime?
- Lime Bike and Scooter Options
- How Much Do Lime Bikes and Scooters Cost?
- How to Sign Up for Lime
- How to Rent a Lime Bike or Scooter
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Lime?
Lime is a dockless bike and scooter rental app that launched in 2017. Formerly known as LimeBike, the platform allows users to unlock nearby bikes and scooters, rent them by the minute, and safely leave them anywhere in their service area to close out a session.
With Lime, there’s no need to splurge on private rideshare trips or waste time on public transit any longer. All you need is a smartphone and a helmet, and you can take off on bike or on scooter at virtually any time of the day.
Lime Bike and Scooter Options
Lime offers two bicycle options and one scooter option when you’re looking to rent from its app, all of which are dock-free services. Here’s a quick rundown of how each of these rental options differ:
- Pedal bikes: Sometimes known as Lime-B, these pedal bikes function like standard bicycles. As long as you know how to bike, there won’t be any learning curve with this ride option.
- Electric bikes: Also known as Lime-E, these are motorized pedal assist bikes that decrease the amount of force necessary to move forward. If you want to bike across town or up Bay Area hills without making it too much of a workout, this option allows you to move at nearly 15 miles per hour for up to 50 miles without breaking a sweat.
- Electric scooters: Also known as Lime-S, these Lime scooters allow you to travel your city while standing, with no need to pedal or push off the ground. These scooters run at nearly 15 miles per hour for up to 20 miles when fully charged.
Not all of these services are available in every market, though you’ll usually find Lime-S scooters wherever you go. Though Lime bikes are still available in plenty of cities, the company has actually been pulling its standard pedal bikes out of cities like Seattle and Boston to make room for more successful all-electric fleets. Still, neither bike share option seems to be going away altogether quite yet.
How Much Do Lime Bikes and Scooters Cost?
Lime’s electric bikes and scooters typically cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride. Manual pedal bikes are always the most cost-effective option, at $1 per half hour of use.
Exact prices do vary between cities, but you can always expect affordable rates in this range. You can find your city’s exact rates by opening your app and tapping the “Scan to Ride” button.
If this affordable pricing still isn’t impressive to you, you can actually further save by taking advantage of LimePass or Lime Cash discounts that are great for frequent riders. The LimePass is a short-term pass in select markets that waives your unlock fees for seven consecutive days when you pay a one-time $4.99 fee. Lime Cash, on the other hand, is store credit that you can purchase and use on any Lime rental. When you load $30 into your Lime Cash balance, you get $2 free.
Lime never increases rates based on the level of demand, though you may accrue fees if you leave your Lime bike or scooter in unsafe spots or in no-parking zones, like hospital entrances and inside gated communities.
How to Sign Up for Lime
Anyone who is at least 18 years old and has a driver’s license is eligible to use Lime bikes and Lime scooters. If this describes you, you can get started on the platform by downloading the Lime app from the App Store or Google Play store.
Once you open your app, start the sign-up process by connecting your Facebook account or by entering your phone number. You can also sign up with your email by tapping “More.” Anyone signing up with their email or phone number will need to verify their contact information.
To continue, agree to Lime’s user agreement and privacy notice and enable location services. Then, connect your credit card or debit card and you can start your first bike or scooter ride at any time.
How to Rent a Lime Bike or Scooter
Ready to try out your first Lime bike or scooter? No matter which micromobility device you’re looking to rent, the first step is always to locate the closest one to you. Pull up your app and use the map on your home screen to find a nearby bike or scooter, then look to make sure it has enough charge for your needs.
Walk over to your selected ride. Inspect to make sure it’s in good condition, then tap “Scan to Ride” on your app and scan the bike or scooter’s QR code. This code is usually located on the handlebars, though it’s sometimes located behind the seat on Lime bikes.
You can always manually enter the code beneath the QR code if you have any issues, but otherwise, you should be able to start your ride. As you’re riding, make sure to wear a helmet and comply with local traffic laws, riding in bike lanes and staying within approved Ride Zones marked in the Lime app.
When you’re ready to end your ride, make sure your Lime bike or scooter is out of any pedestrian paths and within the approved Ride Zone. Then, lock your bike by pushing down the back wheel lever until you hear a sound or lock your scooter by parking it and tapping “Lock” on your app.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Lime app offers three affordable services that can help you get to work or travel around a city with ease. To learn more about this convenient and eco-friendly service, read these FAQs:
Where can I rent out a Lime bike or scooter?
Lime operates throughout the United States with a presence in over 50 cities — including Miami, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. — and select college campuses. Interestingly, the Lime app isn’t available in San Francisco, even though the company is headquartered in the heart of the city.
Outside of the U.S., Lime also operates in some European, Asian, South American, and Australian cities.
However, not every city is guaranteed to offer all three bike and scooter options. Plus, some cities have temporarily paused all operations due to COVID-19. Take a look at
Does Lime offer flexible opportunities to earn?
Yes. The company is always accepting applications for the Lime charger (or “Lime Juicer”) gig. Lime Juicers are independent contractors who earn as much as $30 per hour just by picking up, charging, and re-distributing electric scooters (not bikes) around their cities.
This flexible gig is a great way to earn extra money for your bike or scooter-sharing needs or to get solid cash without much effort. If you decide to sign up, be sure to read our tips on how to make more money as a Lime charger.
Are there any other similar bikeshare companies that I can consider if Lime isn’t available in my area?
Absolutely. Though scooter sharing is the hottest micromobility trend at the moment, many bike sharing companies still exist. You can consider popular Lime alternatives like Lyft’s Citi Bike and Divvy Bikes, Uber’s JUMP, or even Scoot, which offers bike options in some cities.
Brett, if we’d rather skip a COVID mention to keep us from having to update this post, we can cut the sentence that starts with “Plus,” and say: “Take a look at this complete list of Lime markets to see where Lime’s micromobility services are available at any given time.”
What is a LimeBike Juicer?
If you want to go beyond free bike and scooter rides, you can actually get paid to charge Lime scooters. Lime refers to people who do this job as “Juicers.” Lime Juicers collect scooters that are low on charge, take them home and charge them, and then return them to set locations around the city each morning.
You have to apply to be a Juicer, but it’s not a difficult process. As long as you have a way to collect the scooters and an outlet to charge them, Lime will provide everything else you need. They pay per scooter, so it can be a nice way to supplement your income. This is especially true if you’re a rideshare driver who’s already out driving around. To learn more about how to become a Lime Juicer, check out our complete guide.
What kind of support does Lime offer to riders?
If you have any issues with a Lime vehicle or ride, you can contact LimeBike Support using the email address support@LimeBike.com. After each ride you take, you’ll also have the opportunity to rate the ride and report any problems you encountered.
The company employs people to maintain the vehicles, so they’re usually quite quick about addressing any problems. Still, you should always alert them if you come across a vehicle that isn’t working or if you have any issues using the service.
Can I use Lime if I’m under 18?
Sort of. If you’re 16 or over, you can use one of the Lime pedal bikes, but only under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Use of any of Lime’s electric vehicles by minors is prohibited by the company’s user agreement (and by law). In practice, it’s probably not worth the trouble, as the electric vehicles are part of the biggest draw of Lime.
Explore on Two Wheels
Hopping on a Lime bike or scooter allows you to explore your city or head straight to your destination without spending more than you need to. This convenient service is perfect for anyone who just wants to pick up a bike and go, without worrying about returning their rental to its original location.
If you’re not much of a cyclist and would prefer a brand that maximizes your scooter options instead, read our guide to Bird scooters to learn how this leading app can transform the way you move.
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.