Lime launched with a simple theory: by offering people different ways to move around their communities, we could reduce the number of cars on the road and encourage more people to embrace micro-mobility.
As part of our Year-End Report released last month, we surveyed riders across many of our global markets in the US, Europe and Oceania to better understand the widespread and growing appeal of Lime’s shared bikes and scooters.
Over 11,000 responses later, the results are in. The cities that have embraced Lime bikes and scooters are achieving their goals of cutting car reliance and growing micro-mobility adoption in dramatic fashion.
Most notably, we found that Lime attracts new groups to biking and scootering, many of whom are reducing their car use and are resoundingly clear about their preference for riding on dedicated bicycle infrastructure.
Read on for the full details.
Lime Attracts Infrequent and Non-Bicyclists
Lime riders were asked how recently they had ridden either a personal or a bikeshare bike. As it turns out, they’re not the commuters you’ll frequently see zipping around on two wheels. 57.4% of Lime riders surveyed had not ridden a bike in the last month, and 26.6% of them hadn’t ridden one at all in the last year.
In other words, Lime’s fleet of shared bikes and scooters attracts a new audience of people who ride a bicycle infrequently, or not at all.
Figure 1. Most Recent Bike Ride.
Bringing new riders into the fold of micro-mobility does more than simply help to reduce car reliance. It gives them a fresh perspective and a voice to advocate for safe, dedicated bicycle infrastructure, all while reaching communities that may not have had meaningful access to micro-mobility before.
It also suggests that the unique characteristics of shared bikes and scooters may be better meeting the needs of certain riders, a theory reinforced by the greater numbers of lower-income riders using Lime’s bikes and scooters (34% of the Lime riders in our survey live in households earning less than $50,000 a year) compared to traditional docked bikeshare. 1 2 3
Lime Reduces Car Use And Supports A Car-Light Lifestyle
According to our survey, 30% of Lime riders replaced a trip by automobile (personal car, carshare, or ride-hailing) during their most recent trip. In conjunction with our Lime Green carbon offset program, this shift away from car use has positive implications for both the environment and urban concerns like congestion and car parking.
Figure 2. Mode Shift on Most Recent Trip
We also see early evidence supporting the idea that shared mobility options can help to reduce car ownership and dependence. In the US markets we surveyed, Lime riders’ households own an average of just 1.67 cars, compared to 1.88 for all households nationwide. Similarly, in urban areas where people are more likely to live without a personal vehicle, US Lime riders’ households are more likely to live car-free (12.9%) than their peers in comparably-sized cities across the country (9.3%). 4
In other words, Lime riders are almost 40% more likely to live in zero-car households than their neighbors. Though it’s too early to claim responsibility for our riders shedding their cars, these statistics makes it clear that Lime supports car-free living.
Figure 3. Lime Riders’ Car Ownership Levels
Figure 4. Percent of Lime Rider and US Households with Zero Cars
Lime Riders Overwhelmingly Prefer Protected Micro-Mobility Infrastructure
Lime riders are pretty clear about where they want to ride. When given the option, 52.2% of them ranked a protected bike lane as their number one choice for riding, with bike lanes and off-street bike paths a close second and third. Sidewalks and streets generally ranked last among most riders.
Similarly, given two otherwise identical streets, 77.3% fewer Lime riders would ride on the sidewalk if a bike lane were available on one of the streets but not the other.
In sum, Lime riders clearly prefer dedicated infrastructure for bike and scooter riding, and building more protected lanes will help keep scooters off sidewalks.
With such a resounding call for protected micro-mobility infrastructure coming from the growing and diverse population of scooter riders, it's imperative for cities to help lead the way forward with greater investment in building complete streets.
Figure 5. Lime Riders’ Facility Type Preferences
As Lime continues to learn more about our riders’ habits and preferences, we’re eager to share these findings with cities and work together to find ways to improve micro-mobility systems at the local level.
This includes elevating rider safety and building on initiatives such as our Respect The Ride campaign and global helmet giveaway to ensure responsible ridership at the individual level. It also includes identifying key corridors and hotspots for bike and scooter infrastructure and parking, and much more.
To stay up to date with our reporting, be sure to subscribe to the Lime Blog or download the Lime app to take a ride today!
1 Fishman, E., Washington, S., Haworth, N., & Watson, A. (2015). Factors influencing bike share membership: An analysis of Melbourne and Brisbane. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 71, 17–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2014.10.021
2 Woodcock, J., Tainio, M., Cheshire, J., O’Brien, O., & Goodman, A. (2014). Health effects of the London bicycle sharing system: Health impact modelling study. BMJ (Online), 348(February), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g425
3 Fishman, E. (2016). Bikeshare: A Review of Recent Literature. Transport Reviews, 36(1), 92–113. https://doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2015.1033036
4 McGuckin, N. A., & Fucci, A. (2017). Summary of Travel Trends: 2017 National Household Travel Survey. Rockville, MD. Retrieved from https://nhts.ornl.gov/assets/2017_nhts_summary_travel_trends.pdf