Starting May 13, electric scooters have returned to the streets of Minneapolis. The city green-lit contracts with four network operators, Jump, Lime, Lyft, and Spin, and as of May 13, Lime and Spin are operating in the city. Jump is a brand of Uber Technologies Inc. and Spin is owned by Ford Motor Co.
Lime, Bird, and Spin were chosen for contracts by the City of St. Paul. Uber and Lyft are expanding their turf war from ride share to bike and scooter share, but neither was chosen for St. Paul.
I talked with a City of Minneapolis spokesperson about the current state of electric scooters in Minneapolis.
Currently Lime and Spin are operating (as of May 13th), the Lyft agreement is being finalized this week, and City staff are still working on final discussions with Jump. There is no intention to open up to other entrants at this point.
City of Minneapolis spokesperson, May 20, 2019
There has been some hiccups, however. On May 18 and 20, Spin scooters were not on the streets and none appeared in the operator’s app. Spin’s vibrant orange scooters have returned on some days. As of this writing, May 25, there were no Spin scooters available in the app.
The second year of electric scooters is still a learning year for many riders and the city.
According to the Minneapolis Public Works scooter website, scooter riders must abide by the same laws governing bikes.
However, dicey street traffic has led many scooter riders to use sidewalks as the primary right-of-way. Anecdotally, it appears the majority of scooter riders do not wear helmets, which are required by some operator contracts.
Lyft and Jump should be hitting the streets of Minneapolis in the next few weeks. Watch this space for updates on electric scooters, the future of mobility, and all things streets.
Have you ridden an electric scooter this year? What model or brand of scooter is your favorite to ride? Share your discoveries and thoughts in the comments.