After 2 million rides, Lime upgrades e-scooter fleet with locking mechanism, swappable batteries

Lime can boast two million rides on their scooters and the company wants to show the City of Portland they’re ready for a long-term relationship.

As we reported last week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking for one or two scooter operators to take over the existing pilot program and provide a larger fleet and other upgrades in exchange for less competition and a more stable contract. One of the major changes PBOT has asked prospective vendors to make is a locking mechanism that would allow scooters to be attached to designated parking stalls.

Lime says their new Gen4 scooters are up to the task. The company announced today they’ve begun to swap out their existing fleet with upgraded scooters that include a cable lock to encourage riders to lock them to bike racks and other designated parking spots. “This will decrease street clutter and promote safety, improving the micromobility experience for everyone in the city including non-riders and other pedestrians,” a Lime statement said.

With more scooters parked in racks, PBOT will need to work extra hard to make sure there are ample spaces available for bicycle users.

(Source: Lime)

The upgraded Lime scooters will also include swappable, interchangeable batteries. That means maintenance crews can re-charge scooters more efficiently in the field without having to round them up. This will reduce the vehicle miles traveled of Lime maintenance vehicles and lead to fewer carbon emissions.

Other new features of Lime’s Gen4 model are swept-back handlebars (“reminiscent of bike handles” the company says), an improved kickstand, better brakes, beefier suspension and larger wheels, and a lower deck.

Lime has operated scooters in Portland since the first pilot program began in 2018 and will soon announce riders have taken over two million rides. The company has over 1,100 scooters on the ground in Portland, more than any other vendor. They expect a full fleet swap to be completed in the next few weeks.

PBOT says all current scooter vendors can operate through fall 2022 until a new vendor (or vendors) are chosen.

When electric scooter and bicycle users collide

A collision in July left a woman with serious injuries.
(Photo: Mark Senf)

There are now 587 more electric scooters on Portland streets than this time last year. In the first 10 weeks of the current pilot program, the City of Portland says 16 of those scooters were involved in a collision.

We can confirm that at least two of those collisions involved a bicycle rider. There was the infamous collision during the recent protests downtown that was caught on tape by KGW News (watch it below).

And back in July, reader Mark Senf sent us the image at right. He witnessed two young men on one scooter (technically illegal) collide with a bicycle rider at the intersection of Naito Parkway and SW Harvey Milk. Senf said the woman who was riding the bike suffered cuts and bruises along with a fractured shoulder. She was carted away via ambulance and her husband stayed behind to handle the details.

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E-scooters to return next month with tougher regulations on riders and operators

PBOT wants to crack down on sidewalk riding this time around.
(Photos: BikePortland)

Portland’s second attempt at integrating electric scooters into the mobility mix could get started as early as April 26th.

And unlike the 2,000 scooters we had on the streets last year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will start with 2,500 and estimates we could see as many as 9,000 if enough scooter companies play ball with a host of new regulations. PBOT says if all permits are granted and all operators qualify for incentives we could have 15,000 scooters in use by January 2020.

The new pilot is scheduled to last one year, after which PBOT says they’ll work with the public to develop a permanent program.

In their announcement today, PBOT released a mix of incentives and regulations that demonstrate the challenge they face to create a scooter program that leads to high ridership yet also addresses serious concerns raised by some people and organizations during the first pilot. At nearly 6,000 trips per day during the 120-day pilot last year, the scooters proved to be a valuable mobility option. However, due to a lack of safe space to ride them and a lack of consideration for others, too many people rode them on sidewalks and parked them in places that obstructed public right-of-way.

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Scooters back in the news: Bird in Salem and Portland as final report coming soon

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you’ve missed electric scooters in Portland, you’ll be happy to hear they’ll start popping up again soon. Sort of.

While we don’t have any dates for another deployment, scooters will be back in the news as the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation releases its full report on the four-month pilot program next week.

That’s good timing for officials in Salem who are getting lobbied hard by Bird, a major scooter company and one of the three who participated in the Portland pilot. Salem planners will have plenty of data and analysis to pore over as they consider scooter prospects in the capital.

A story published today in the Statesman Journal reports that Bird executives have already bent the ear of Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and city staff are likely to meet with the company soon to get their full pitch. That same story mentions the Portland pilot and confirms that PBOT plans to release a full report on it next week. Given the existing survey data and PBOT’s general tone about scooters, my hunch is the report will provide even more momentum for a second deployment.

And if scooters do get the green light in Salem, imagine the impact that could have on the minds of state legislators. A successful and high-profile deployment around the capital might help lawmakers see beyond the automobile when it comes to transportation policy.

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Bird to host e-scooter rally and press conference Wednesday

From the press conference invite.

A leading electric scooter company will host a rally at City Hall on Wednesday at 12 noon. Bird says the event will feature speakers from nonprofits Forth Mobility (formerly Drive Oregon, an EV advocacy group) and The Street Trust. The event is billed as a way to, “Unify in demand for immediate end to ban on sustainable transportation alternatives.”

Bird was one of three companies that participated in the City of Portland’s e-scooter pilot program. Despite what appeared to be a successful experiment, Portland decided to take all scooters off the streets about one month ago.

Now Bird and The Street Trust want to get scooters back in the news. Here’s the text of an invite Bird is sending around:

Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at noon at City Hall for a press conference in support of bringing scooters back to Portland! We’ll have speakers from Bird, The Street Trust, and more.

Portland’s e-scooter pilot program was a huge success in giving Portlanders new convenient, sustainable alternatives to car travel and the city’s leaders have shown tremendous foresight as they plan to incorporate these new modes of transportation into the city’s streets.

Let’s show them how much we appreciate their work making Portland a leader in sustainability and that we hope we can get scooters back on the road as soon as possible so we can continue to have more convenient, environmentally-friendly, and affordable transportation options!

Word has it that representatives from Lime will also speak at the event.

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