Seattleites have to deal with some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. According to traffic technology and data firm INRIX, drivers in Seattle spend about 55 hours stuck in traffic per year. Gabriel Scheer, director of strategic development for Lime, suggests one possible solution: electric scooters.
“If you look at downtown at rush hour, you can see the cars aren’t moving very quickly, in fact, sometimes not moving at all,” he said.
Scheer said the scooters are small, and they will not get stuck in traffic in the same way that cars can.
Lime scooters can run up to approximately 15 miles per hour. Riding is simple. Similar to using the Lime bikes, just use the app to unlock the scooter, kick up the kick stand, and you’re off.
Scooters from Lime and competitor companies like Bird are already in many cities, including LA, Washington, DC., Austin and Detroit. South of Seattle, Tacoma has Lime and Bird scooters as part of pilot programs. However, Seattle has not authorized shared dockless scooters.
At a Lime pop-up event Friday in Seattle’s Westlake Park, people could test out the e-scooters themselves. At least a hundred attendees showed up throughout the day. Handouts at Lime’s booth encouraged Seattleites to email their officials to let them know that residents want shared scooters in the city.
If Seattle ended its ban on shared e-scooters, Lime users can expect to spend $1 dollar to unlock a scooter and $0.15 per minute to ride it.
Several attendees at Lime’s event were enthusiastic about scooters.
“I would use them all the time,” said Paavan Vasudev, who works for Amazon as a senior software development engineer. Vasudev said he could see himself using scooters to travel between buildings in Seattle rather than taking Ubers.
“I was surprised by how fast they go,” Vasudev said. “It would be a really great option.”
Attendee Joelle Sostheim enjoyed riding Lime’s e-scooter but had some concerns about safety.
“I wouldn’t necessarily go riding a scooter in big traffic,” Sostheim said.
Just last month, a Lime scooter rider died in a scooter-to-SUV collision. Scheer acknowledged safety concerns in an interview with GeekWire.
“So full stop, we want people to be safe,” Scheer said. “The D.C. incident or any other like it obviously is a horrible tragedy … That person was hit by an SUV. Something like 38,000 people die on U.S. highways every year in car accidents. From our perspective, we’re trying to solve for that problem by getting more people out of cars by creating more awareness in cities of people who are on two wheels.”
Scheer said data on shared dockless scooters is starting to come out from cities like Portland and Salt Lake City and that Lime is sharing this data with Seattle as it decides whether to allow scooters in the city.
Watch our full video report from the Westlake Park event above.