GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Small fleets of electric bikes and scooters have become a constant presence in and around the downtown area. The city says they have seen about 500,000 rides taken since they launched the program in late 2020.
Rentable electric scooters from a company called Spin came first— the electric bikes from Lime, arrived in June 2021.
“We have 210 parking zones, we call them,” said Kristin Bennett, transportation engineering projects manager, with Mobile GR.
You can see all of the zones when you log in to the Lime mobile app. They are spread throughout an approximately 12-square-mile area.
But, do the bikes and scooters work properly through these frigid winter months? For the most part, yes.
The 2 companies take many of their scooters out of service during the winter, leaving most of the bikes on the roads.
They both have the ability to remotely disable their entire fleet of bikes and scooters in times of severe weather. After they are shut down, they send staffers out to collect and warehouse them until thee weather turns around.
Bennett said on Wednesday that the electric scooters were temporarily disabled in February of 2020 because of severe weather.
FOX 17 also spoke to Lime about the usage of their bikes and scooters during the winter months.
"Lime is proud to be keeping our shared e-bikes on the ground in Grand Rapids this winter so residents and visitors have access to shared, affordable, carbon-free transportation year-round. We specifically wanted to have our e-bikes available for the City's World of Winter festival from now through March and we're glad we can help people get to and from those events," LeAaron Foley, director of government relations at Lime, said in a statement.
"We monitor temperatures and the status of the e-bikes in our fleet to ensure every trip is safe to take. We recommend riders dress warmly but otherwise they should feel free to use our e-bikes this winter!"
While the bikes and scooters came to Grand Rapids as part of a pilot program, Bennett said they are here to stay.
"I think we've seen a lot of people using them because it was a new option, or something new to try," she said Wednesday.
"We're hoping that, as people come back to offices and restaurants... that this is part of the menu of options that people can choose to get around Grand Rapids."
You can view the latest information about the program at the city's dedicated web page HERE.