With worldwide influences such as urbanization, rideshare services, and the growing momentum of electric vehicles, sustainable transportation options are expanding more than ever across the country... And Columbus is no exception.
No longer limited to services such as Lyft and Uber, auto tech is preparing to meet the reality of urban design and travel. As the majority of the trips we take in urban areas prove to be less than a few miles, the shared mobility industry is turning to lighter ware. Bikes and scooters are gaining popularity and rideshare services are looking to provide more sustainable transportation in Columbus than ever.
Sustainable Transportation in Columbus
Despite some controversy over safety, laws, and regulation of the mobility devices, these scooters and bikes can be seen in and around Columbus neighborhoods such as Downtown, Short North, and Bexley.
With school resuming next week at Ohio State, students have more options than ever for zipping around between classes with the options of environmentally-friendly rental scooters on the main campus.
In addition to Lime, California-based company Bird has also thrown its hat into Columbus' micro-mobility ring, offering their own brand of electronic scooter sharing service.
Columbus Micro-Mobility Services
Lime-S offers an electric scooter rental platform designed to "give riders a safe, effortless experience," while providing upfront instructionals on proper parking and safety etiquette. With the app, you find nearby motorized scooters to unlock for $1 and rent at $0.15/min.
- 20+ mile maximum range
- 14.8 mph maximum speed
- $1/unlock + $0.15/min to ride
- 250-watt motor
Along with its rollout on OSU campus, Lime has also announced its products will now be available to rent without smartphone along with discounts on every ride, via a partnership with PayNearMe.
Bird provides a very similar app-based platform of finding and unlocking electric motorized scooters, along with communicating safety to riders, including:
- Riders are required to upload a driver’s license
- Riders must be 18+
- Saftey instructions are displayed on the app, directly on each scooter, and a fully illustrated safety section on their website.
- Urging riders to wear a helmet, including having reportedly distributed nearly 40,000 free helmets
Bird has also announced a Save Our Sidewalks program:
- All vehicles will be retrieved from city streets every night so as not to clutter neighborhoods.
- All vehicles will be used an average of three times per day, or they will be culled to avoid clutter.
- Bird will donate $1 per vehicle per day to each city to promote bike lane infrastructure and safe riding.
A spokesperson for Bird expressed their excitement in providing affordable, environmentally friendly transportation to Columbus communities.
Safety and Micro-Mobility In Columbus
Although some concerns loom amongst the public about whether the rental services, their users, or individual cities can establish accountability, spokespeople from Lime, Bird and the Columbus' Department of Public Service have all expressed optimism in working together to ensure public rights, particularly with Lime noting regard to safety at Ohio State.
Multiple Columbus officials have expressed that there have been no serious incidents with the rental scooters. While there are no current laws specific to handling this form of transport, it would be nice if we can continue to provide more options for sustainable transportation in Columbus.
Maybe it's just an adjustment period. There were days where even automobiles lacked safety standards. Scooters that don't require racking can find new solutions to reduce or prevent clutter.
One thing seems to remain certain. With micro-mobility's ever-growing popularity and competitive trends going in the same intense direction as Uber and Lyft, it seems micro mobility is here to stay.