From the Publisher — Think of this story from The Land as a combination post in our Summer Road Trips and Challenges. Solutions. series. It comes from The Land, a new digital publication in Cleveland, and is reposted here with permission. The Land and 1812Blockhouse are both members of LION Publishers.
Could this work in Mansfield?
By Lee Chilcote, The Land
As the saying goes, it’ll be just like riding a bike — only this time, with motorized pedal assist.
That’s what Lime, a provider of shared electric vehicles, is hoping Clevelanders will say about its e-bikes, which it brought to Cleveland over the Fourth of July weekend.
The company recently launched 50 e-bikes in Cleveland, with plans to grow the fleet up to 400 in the coming months. This is the first time that e-bikes, which are bikes that provide an electric boost once users start pedaling, are available in Cleveland. They’re already available in many other cities.
“For us, it’s about making connections and making sure that people have options that are sustainable and reliable,” said Phil Jones, Senior Director of Government Relations with Lime. “We’ve been seeing that happen with scooters, but we know that bikes bring another level of connectivity.”
Users can rent bicycles and scooters in the same app. While scooters are typically used for 1-3 mile trips, riders often travel 5 miles or further on the bikes, potentially allowing people to get places faster and easier while also reducing environmental pollution.
Jones said the company, which has served Cleveland since August 2019, has seen “over 50,000 unique riders taking more than 168,000 trips, replacing an estimated 40,000 car trips, and saving 158,000 tons of carbon emissions,” according to a release.
“We’ve seen a growth in ridership,” Jones said. “We’ve also seen a deeper commitment from local organizations and the city of Cleveland itself. More information is being spread about it, and the demographics of who’s using bikes and scooters is growing.”
Lime jobs pay $17-$23 per hour with benefits, according to the release. It also has partnerships with Center for Employment Opportunity and the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Workforce Development Board (CCWDB) to staff the Cleveland Lime Patrol, which addresses mis-parked vehicles and other issues. Additionally, the firm has a Lime Access equity program in the city, offering 70%+ discount on e-scooter rides for low-income Clevelanders. While a typical 10-minute ride would be $4.55 at standard pricing, with the Lime Access discount it would be $1.20, according to Jones.
The company also offers seated scooters for those with accessibility issues that can be delivered directly to homes or offices for free on demand. Lime scooters and e-bikes are currently not available in the suburbs. However, Jones said the firm is working with Cuyahoga County to develop a plan to roll out the vehicles in other areas.
Although sidewalk blocking is a common problem, Jones said they’re working on it. Recently, they’ve been using technology to create a geo-fence around certain areas of downtown, to ensure that rides end within a restricted area. “We’ve seen a vast change in riders’ behavior,” said Jones.
In terms of education, the city of Cleveland provides information on the rules of the road, safe use and parking of e-mobility devices on its website, and Lime is planning upcoming educational seminars with Bike Cleveland.
Lee Chilcote is editor of The Land.
Photo: Creative Commons License