You may have seen orange, green, and black scooters on sidewalks around town and wondered what they’re for and how to use them. Or maybe you are a UHBikes bikeshare aficionado and are curious about what’s next for bikeshare in Cleveland.
Shared bikes and scooters—often called shared mobility devices—can offer a convenient option to get around town. Because these devices are ‘dockless’ and can be parked anywhere, the system is more flexible than the traditional bikeshare model of hubs at specific locations across the city. These dockless scooters and bikes can be picked up anywhere by using a smartphone app to locate the closest device and start a ride.
Shared Mobility Companies in Cleveland
The City of Cleveland offers annual permits to shared mobility companies interested in providing stand up e-scooters and other mobility devices, such as bicycles, for rent. Following an application review in early 2021, this June the City is renewing stand up e-scooter permits for currently operating companies Bird (black and white scooters), Lime (green and white scooters), and Spin (orange and black scooters), as well as issuing an e-scooter permit to LINK by Superpedestrian, which will be a new company in Cleveland with yellow and gray scooters. The City has also approved permits for Bird, Lime, and Spin to launch e-bikes in Cleveland later this summer should they choose to do so. Each of these companies will be attending community events throughout the summer to distribute helmets and provide first-ride opportunities for new scooter and bikeshare riders.
Shared Mobility Safety Tips
Since the dockless shared mobility programs started in Cleveland in August, 2019, riders have taken more than 524,000 trips in the City of Cleveland. These rides can help connect people to and from transit stops (sometimes called first and last mile connections), take the place of a car trip, or offer a recreational option to explore the city. Knowing how to use the system safely—and how to drive safely around people on bikes and scooters—is key to a successful program.
For scooter/bike riders:
- Be visible and predictable when riding. Ride in the road, not on the sidewalk, and follow all traffic laws. Stay about three feet away from the curb to give yourself room to steer around debris or potholes in the road, and use bike lanes when available.
- Wear a helmet and try to find a smooth parking lot or road with light traffic for your first ride to build up familiarity and confidence.
- At the end of your ride, park in the ‘furniture zones,’ or the area between the curb and the sidewalk where there are often utility poles, bus shelters, and street trees. Be sure your scooter is not blocking sidewalks, doorways, and crosswalks. Check out the apps for preferred parking locations to earn incentives with each ride.
For motor vehicle drivers:
- Share the road. While they will likely use bike lanes where available, bike and scooter riders can legally ride in the middle of the travel lane to be visible and to avoid road hazards.
- Don't drive distracted. Be alert and watch out for slower moving road users like people on scooters and bikes.
- Be patient and pass safely. Drivers may pass only people on scooters and bikes if there are at least three feet between the motor vehicle and the rider. Where possible, change lanes to pass.
For more information about Cleveland’s shared mobility program, check out https://planning.clevelandohio.gov/dockless/ or email [email protected]. This post was written by guest blogger Calley Mersmann, City of Cleveland Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator ([email protected]). As Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the Cleveland City Planning Commission, she informs bicycle and pedestrian elements of capital projects, assists with community education and outreach, and guides local initiatives such as Vision Zero and the shared mobility program. In her free time she loves exploring Cleveland’s trail network, bike camping, and gardening in her back yard.