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E‑scooter companies want regulation; here’s how to get it right

In the five years since shared e-scooters were first introduced onto city streets, we’ve seen a broad shift in how they’re perceived. They’ve gone from being a novelty that cities felt compelled to fight to an increasingly valuable part of local transportation networks that can help cut car use and carbon emissions.

Over that time companies like Lime have seen a wide range of regulatory frameworks. Some have worked well, with residents and visitors having ample access to shared bikes and scooters for sustainable travel, and clear rules users can grasp. Alternatively, some regulatory regimes have been flawed, burdening companies and riders alike while unnecessarily stifling micromobility’s capacity to meet local sustainability and transportation goals.

At the end of the day, Regulation is something micromobility companies value. It ensures programs are organized, reduces friction with local communities, and provides for a stable business environment. It’s just important that regulators get it right, so programs can best serve cities and their residents.

Quality regulations ensure public safety, provide ample availability for riders, reduce friction with communities, and allow cities to effectively manage programs. The result is a well-integrated service that residents value.

That’s why today we’re excited to unveil a set of recommendations developed in collaboration with our European counterparts at Dott, Superpedestrian, TIER Mobility and Voi. The recommendations aim to better integrate shared micromobility in European cities and provide for long-term programs riders can rely on.

The recommendations reflect the expertise we’ve gained from operating more than 750,000 vehicles across 37 countries, collectively, under just about every micromobility regulatory structure put forward over the past five years. As more cities move from pilots to permanent programs, we’re hopeful cities will be receptive to these suggestions and draw from them when considering how best to regulate shared micromobility.

10 recommendations for regulating European micromobility programs:

  1. Select an appropriate number of operators to avoid oversaturation, and provide for healthy competition, consumer choice and easy administration.
  2. Allow for fleet sizes that balance reliability with tidiness.
  3. Ensure contract lengths are long enough for riders to become familiar with micromobility as a suitable transportation option.
  4. If fees are imposed, they should cover the reasonable and transparent costs of administering a program and the use of public space. Fees should be commensurate with those paid by operators of similar transportation modes.
  5. Adopt uniform and automated data-sharing through MDS and GBFS protocols, the most commonly used globally.
  6. Design selection processes to identify operators best suited to provide quality service over the long term, tailored to a city’s unique needs.
  7. Provide for contiguous operational areas that maximize access to key destinations.
  8. Provide ample parking to ensure convenience, reliability and tidiness.
  9. Limit speeds to 20-25 km/h to ensure rider safety.
  10. Encourage but do not mandate helmet use.

Additional details corresponding to each recommendation can be found here.

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