New e-scooter program rides its way into Lexington

New e-scooter program rides its way into Lexington

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With October being “Move It” month in Lexington, it was about time the city launched its new electric scooter program.

Starting this week, hundreds of Lime electric scooters are ready to ride throughout Lexington. The city will start off with 360 electric scooters and over the next month the number will increase to the 400 capacity. Lexington’s ordinance allows for a max of five e-scooter companies to operate in the city.

Lime is a transportation company known for its electric scooters, electric bikes, and car sharing systems in various cities around the world. Spin is another bicycle-sharing and scooter-sharing company based in San Francisco that is expected to bring its e-scooters to Lexington soon. 

When asked recently what the next transportation trend to takeover Lexington in the next five years would be, Mike Sewell said electric scooters and bikes. 

October: a man on his bike
Mike Sewell / Photo credit Austin Johnson/ACE Weekly

“They’re great for the aging population, give you a little boost, and you don’t get too sweaty. They’ll continue to be a major force that helps to showcase how to get around short trips inside the city.”

Sewell, who is collaborating with the Lexington Area MPO in his role as the project manager for Town Branch Commons Project, rides his bike to work every day and is a daily advocate for multimodal activities. 

How does the scooter-sharing program work? Anyone familiar with ride sharing apps like Uber or Lyft won’t be accustomed to the scooter-sharing program.

By downloading the Lime app, potential riders can see the locations of scooters on a map. They can then find a scooter and scan the barcode to begin the timer. Once the timer starts, riders are free to ride their scooters anywhere, but scooters will only work inside New Circle Road. Electric scooters are only allowed on the road and bike lanes, as it’s illegal to use e-scooters on sidewalks. As for parking, do as you would with a bicycle.

Since the city of Lexington approved permits for shared use bicycle and e-scooter companies to operate within the city limits, these vehicles will eventually be introduced on UK’s campus. 

The university is not sure which company will provide the approved bikes and e-scooters on campus, but any bike and e-scooter from approved companies are allowed to be ridden onto campus, provided the company is in good standing with the university.

Bikes are no new-comer to UK’s campus since the launch of the joint city-university one-year pilot program with Spin through June 2019. This program allowed for the development of regulations to make this new type of transportation work for the university and the city of Lexington. 

As for shared use e-scooters, those are new to UK, and there are different rules that apply when riding and parking on campus. E-scooters must be parked at bike racks or in designated parking areas. They are allowed on sidewalks on campus and in bike lanes, but they are not allowed on sidewalks off campus. E-scooters must follow the rules of the road like any other vehicle.

Helmets are highly encouraged while riding an e-scooter, but they are not required under state law.

As with all forms of transportation, e-scooter riders are asked to be courteous and considerate of others, especially during periods of high congestion.

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