Scooters will return to Spokane in just a couple of weeks after the Spokane City Council approved a contract with Lime, a California-based bike and scooter sharing company.
Lime will provide 400 scooters and 100 e-bikes when it relaunches, and it hopes to eventually provide about 1,500 total, according to the company’s proposal.
Lime was one of four venders the city considered. The company agreed to run an education program and introduce a new type of scooter and an equity program called “Lime Access” that would offer discounted fares for people with low incomes.
City Councilwoman Karen Stratton said she hopes the rollout, which is scheduled for mid-May, will be less chaotic than the pilot. She said many of her constituents called to complain, saying they were unsafe. She said she hopes the new contract, along with rules requiring scooters to be in the street, will prepare riders and the city for any issues.
“This time, there’s going to be a real thought-out launch where people know they’re out there and with some public education,” she said. “I think we’ll see it go a little bit smoother than last year.”
Stratton said she planned to try using a Lime scooter, with a helmet, when they are available.
Councilman Mike Fagan, the only council member to vote against the proposal, also voted against the bike and scooter rule changes the council approved last month.
Fagan said he voted against the rules and the City-Lime agreement because it created an unfair set of standards between Lime users and other commuters. Under the rules the city approved last month, bicyclists and scooter users that obtained their vehicles through an app don’t have to wear a helmet when they’re riding downtown, but all other commuters using bikes and scooters still have to wear helmets.
“There is a double standard, period,” he said. “If you’re going to make something, make a law, it has to apply to everybody equally.”
He said if all commuters were required to wear helmets, or no one was required to wear helmets, he may have voted differently, because the city will receive revenue from Lime for contracting with them.
Lime will pay the city about 75 cents for every scooter and bike in operation per day, which city staff estimates will add between $50,000 to $80,000 in revenue a year. That money will be dedicated to improving bike lanes and trail projects, as well as the cost of running the program.
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