Spokane Mayor David Condon hopped on the electric scooter, kicked the ground, pressed the accelerator button and – whoosh! – was out of the Chase Gallery in the basement of Spokane City Hall in a flash.
If he weren’t the mayor, such joyriding surely wouldn’t be allowed inside the august building. Come Sept. 4, however, the green scooters and bikes will be all over the city.
Condon said a two-month trial for high-tech bike sharing will begin the day after Labor Day, just in time for Spokefest, one of the city’s annual two-wheel celebrations that takes place on Sept. 9.
The pilot project will be done exclusively with Lime, a Silicon Valley-based bicycle and scooter sharing company. Some of the bikes and all of the scooters will be electric, giving a boost to riders. And they’re dockless, meaning they can be parked anywhere and have electronic “frame locks” that release only after users register on a smartphone app with a credit card.
Isaac Gross, general manager with Lime Washington who was in Spokane to announce the launch Monday morning, said he looked forward to seeing how Spokanites use the system.
The regular bikes will cost $1 for every half hour of use. The electric bikes and scooters will cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute of use.
“It’s a last-mile solution,” Gross said, noting that the vehicles are intended to be used in conjunction with transit, walking or even driving. “But you’re welcome to ride them wherever you want.”
One use he anticipated would not be as bad as some fear: as projectiles off the Monroe Street Bridge.
“In reality, less than 1 percent of our bikes are vandalized nationwide. These are all GPS-tracked. We know where they are. We can monitor users for behavior,” he said. “But a lot of it is working with the community. We’re out there every day, educating people. We hope that are our community partners are out there every day, educating people as well.”
One other thing that may prevent such vandalism: When locked, the wheels don’t move, the bikes are steel and, with a battery, weigh upwards of 50 pounds.
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