Feel like you're caught in a frenzy of dockless bike- and scooter-share news? Us too. In Dockless Digest, Smart Cities Dive will round up the most important (and sometimes bizarre) news and trends affecting the dockless phenomenon to keep you up-to-date.
Is something happening in your city that didn't make the list this week? Shoot us an email at [email protected].
Bird introduces Bird Delivery, Bird Zero initiatives
Dockless scooter company Bird rolled out a new delivery service and a “ruggedized” scooter designed for longer use.
Through Bird Delivery, riders can request a scooter be delivered to them by 8 a.m. that they can then access throughout the day to address what founder Travis VanderZanden said in a statement is riders' "frustration about not having consistent and reliable access to Bird."
Additionally, the new Bird Zero scooters have 60% more battery life, solid tires, a wider and longer chassis, an integrated digital display with a speedometer and an improved GPS tracker. It comes with Bird having celebrated 10 million-plus rides in its first year.
"One year in, we have learned that we are solving a significant challenge for riders and cities who want to get cars off the road and carbon out of the air. Our new ruggedized e-scooter fleet delivers riders a more reliable and longer-lasting ride," VanderZanden said.
Lime scooters coming to Waterloo, Ontario
Lime will roll out its electric dockless scooters in Waterloo, Ontario, marking its first foray into Canada, TechCrunch reports.
The company has partnered with the University of Waterloo to help with the launch, which will be the first of any scooter company in Canada.
“Over the past several months, we have spent time in Waterloo to understand how our Lime-S e-scooters can help this progressive city reach its smart transportation goals,” Lime’s vice president of strategic development Andrew Savage said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We are committed to meeting the unique needs of cities across Canada and are excited to continue expanding our global footprint.”
Idaho cities have mixed relationship with dockless vehicles
Boise, ID is set to have dockless bikes and scooters on its streets soon, but the nearby city of Meridian, ID has had them removed just days after they were introduced.
KTVB reports that Lime entered Meridian on September 27 as part of a two-year pilot program, but the city has asked them to scale it back due to concerns over blocking ADA ramps and people riding them on the sidewalk.
"We have asked them to pull back on all of these scooters until they actually follow through on what they committed to do in educating the public and operationally getting permission from property owners on where these could be," Meridian City Attorney Bill Nary told KTVB.
Meanwhile, Boise will welcome Lime and Bird in a few weeks after the city council there approved an ordinance governing dockless vehicles. City Spokesman Mike Journee told KTVB the laws are designed to prevent the bikes and scooters from being left where they aren't supposed to be.
Lime scooters aren't yet in Philadelphia
Rumors abounded in Philadelphia last week as two Lime scooters were spotted on its app where previously there had been none, according to Philly Voice.
The Philadelphia City Council passed legislation in June to regulate them, but until now none had arrived on city streets.
But it turned out that the scooters appeared on the app due to a “small technical mishap,” according to WHYY. While the scooters are in a warehouse ready for use and were turned on for testing, they showed up in the app, but they are not available yet.
9-year-old injured after scooter hits tree
A 9-year-old girl broke her leg in a scooter accident in San Diego, according to CBS8. Police say her 16-year-old sister, who she was riding the scooter with, fell off before the 9-year-old lost control and crashed into the tree, breaking her femur. It happened Monday evening in the City Heights area of the city.
ICYMI: Uber unveils scooter fleet in Santa Monica, CA
This week, Uber unveiled its first fleet of Jump scooters in Santa Monica, CA, hailing them as an alternative to getting in a car.
Riders in the city can use Uber's app to rent a scooter for $1, plus 15 cents per minute.
Bird’s electric scooters are banned in Seattle and are not available through the app, but GeekWire reports that they are still popping up through the company’s ambassador program.
The program is aimed to get city residents to drive the scooters and provide feedback, with a view to getting their friends and family excited for the vehicles, too. The scooters are not available through Bird’s app, and the Seattle Department of Transportation has banned them while it works out a permanent plan.
In a statement to GeekWire, a Bird spokesperson said they "have given Birds to friends of the company in Seattle to test the vehicles’ utility and viability in the city," although it would not say how many ambassadors they have.