Fayette County

Electric scooter rentals coming to Lexington Tuesday. Here’s how to stay safe.

While visiting Indianapolis, Ross Boggess took his first ride on an electric scooter.

So when Boggess heard Lime scooters was offering a free safety demonstration at the Fifth Third Pavilion next to the former Fayette County courthouse, he jumped at the chance to take a free ride.

Adam Bolin, the Kentucky operations manager for Lime, went over the basics of riding a scooter with Boggess. Put your dominate foot straight and close to the front and place your other foot behind at a roughly 45 degree angle. Push or kick for roughly two steps and then pull back on throttle on the right side of the scooter. Go slow at first.

And with that Boggess was off, deftly riding around green cones in his suit, tie, and dress shoes.

Boggess, who is a former University of Kentucky Wildcat mascot, loved it.

“I think it will take off,” Boggess said of electric scooters.

Lime will officially launch Tuesday in Lexington. On Monday, Bolin and other Lime employees gave a safety demonstration and free rides as part of its education and safety campaign.

Lime will initially offer 360 scooters. Riders will be able to find and use the scooters through the Lime application, which can be downloaded on a smart phone. Users will be able to unlock a scooter for $1 and $0.15 per minute to ride after that. Lime will scale up to the total cap of 400 vehicles over time, Bolin said.

Spin, which already offers pedal bikes in Lexington and on the University of Kentucky’s campus, also received a license for electric scooters. That company is also expected to launch electric scooters this week. Officials with Spin were not immediately available for comment. Spin is licensed for 200 pedal bikes and a total of 400 scooters.

Bolin said riders are strongly encouraged to wear helmets. Kentucky does not have a mandatory helmet law.

The easiest way to stop a scooter? Don’t slam on the brakes. Let go of the throttle.

“It is not legal to ride an electric scooter on a sidewalk in the state of Kentucky,” he said. Riders must be 18 years and older, he said.

“You must obey all traffic rules just like on a bike,” Bolin said.

Lime, which also operates in Louisville, is also offering two free unlocks for Lexington users with the promotion code: Lexdoit.

The scooters will largely only operate inside the urban service boundary. Each has a global positioning systems or GPS system that monitor where the scooters are. As part of the city ordinance, Lime and Spin must have a local manager and must move and re-balance scooters to keep the shared mobility devices from blocking the right-of-way or clogging up sidewalks.

Monday’s safety demonstration is part of Lime’s effort to curb concerns about scooter safety. About one third of accidents happen on the first ride, according to data from a May Austin Public Health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Accidents on electric scooters have caused deaths in some cities, including one in Nashville in May.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted in June to approve regulations governing shared mobility vehicles, such as electric scooters. The ordinance requires electric scooters to be licensed, levies fines against companies that don’t comply and outlines where dockless electric scooters and bikes can be ridden.

The ordinance was in the works for more than a year.

Lexington launched a pilot program in June 2018 with Spin to provide dockless bikes that can be rented and unlocked using a smart phone application. Electric scooters operate the same way. That pilot program, which restricted all shared-mobility vehicles to Spin, expired July 1.

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington D.C.