Brookline kicked off its electric scooter pilot program on Monday , placing about 200 vehicles provided by California-based companies Lime and Bird on the town’s streets. They’re environmentally friendly and fast (at least up to the town-sanctioned speed of 15 miles per hour). They are not without risk: At the launch event, a woman toppled off one and had to be transported to the hospital.
The pilot program will last through November 15, at which time the results of the trial will be evaluated by town officials.
As with anything new and exciting, there are rules. Here they are.
Who can use a scooter?
If you can buy a lottery ticket, you can use the scooters — in other words, you must be 18 or older. Safety alert: All riders must wear helmets.
I don’t have a helmet. What can I do?
If buying one isn’t an option, companies will be providing helmets.
They will distribute the safety gear through company ambassadors, community events, hotel concierges, and bike shops, according to the town. A Lime representative said the company would be handing out helmets in Brookline as part of its Respect The Ride campaign, which will distribute 250,000 helmets worldwide.
According to Bird’s website, the company provides free helmets to active riders — you just have to cover the cost of shipping. Helmets can be requested in the safety section of the app.
When and where can you use a scooter?
Scooters are available for use from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once you’ve mounted your trusty steed, you can travel in bike lanes, multi-use paths, and city streets.
Sidewalks are the one place you definitely shouldn’t travel. Scooter companies are required to educate users not to use sidewalks, and town staff will monitor for those who are breaking regulations.
Scooters can be rented within Brookline only, but Lime and Bird officials say they can be ridden outside of the confines of the town. The companies will be automatically notified of any scooter parked in Boston and will be expected to collect them within four hours, officials said.
How much does it cost to rent a scooter?
Typical pricing is $1 to unlock, plus 15 cents per minute. That means an hourlong excursion costs $10. Keep in mind that companies can set their own rates, so check before you jet off.
Discount pricing is available for low-income individuals and veterans. Lime offers a program called Lime Access allowing individuals eligible for local, state, or federally run assistance programs to pay about half the price for scooter rental. Lime Access members can also participate in the PayNearMe program, which allows users to print out an access code and pay in cash at a participating location.
I wore my helmet, I didn’t fall, I paid the fee, and I’m done with my scooter. What do I do now?
Nice job! Use the kickstand to park the scooter on the sidewalk between the path and the street curb. Make sure you’re not interfering with access to curb ramps, disabled parking spots, building entries, driveways, and loading zones. In addition, ensure the scooter isn’t blocking benches, parking pay stations, bus shelters, and transit information signs.