Riding a Trend: Tips for Using Electric Scooters

Are scooters the new mobility trend? Can the cool new rides serve as a cost-effective means of transportation?

The jury is still out.

Detroit is participating in a pilot program with two scooter companies, Bird and Lime, to help find answers to these questions. While the Detroit program rolled out a couple months ago and has been applauded by locals, recently prompting an expansion to more neighborhoods, other cities from Nashville, Indianapolis and Ann Arbor have placed temporary bans on the electronic scooters due to legal issues.

With the mixed reviews, I had to see for myself what they were all about. A co-worker and I set out on a nice fall afternoon, perfect for a scooter ride, to test them out. I came to the realization that I am not as adventurous as I thought.

The little ride requires balance and confidence – I definitely recommend a helmet! Turns need to be taken widely and riders should be extremely aware of their surroundings. I could not imagine using them on a busy day downtown or during a Michigan winter. But, everyone has their own opinion and threshold for adventure.

If you are interested in trying out the new rides, here are some key things you should know before hopping on:

  • Scooters are available to ride between 7 a.m. and sunset.
  • You must have a smart phone and the app for either Bird or Lime downloaded with the location feature turned on to find a scooter.
  • A credit card is needed to pay for the ride and requires a $10 initial purchase. If the ride is less than $10, the remaining balance stays on the account for future uses.
  • Bird requires the rider to scan their license, Lime does not.
  • One, two and three kicks before you press the gas. When cruising the city or sight-seeing, ride in designated areas, not on sidewalks.
  • Scooters may reach speeds up to 15 miles per hour, so be careful. Lime has a speedometer, Bird does not.
  • Bird offers free helmets, you just have to cover the shipping fee.
  • When finished, park the scooter and end the ride through the app. Do not block pathways when parking.

Have you used scooters to explore a new city? Maybe you’ve hopped on one to get to work or across town – share your experience in the comments. 

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Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan

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