Dockless e-scooters make Idaho debut in Meridian

Posted at 10:33 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 11:09:08-04

The era of dockless e-scooters has officially commenced in the state of Idaho, making their statewide debut in Meridian Thursday.

"It really resulted from lime bike presenting what we think is a great concept," said Luke Cavener, Meridian City Council Member.

Meridian began receiving pitches from the Silicon Valley-based company in December of 2017, and now, the council has officially adopted them.

"It's a great opportunity for our citizens to take something that is affordable, efficient, and really accessible to all of our citizens."

Accessible-- he says-- for commuters especially, to use as an alternative to driving vehicles.

"Some people are a little wary of hopping on a bicycle, but the scooter is, has such a low threshold."

But not everybody feels the dockless devices are a good thing.

"If you are parking one of these scooters on the sidewalk, you are impeding pedestrian traffic," said Dave Fotsch, Director of Boise Green Bike.

Fotsch worries they will be a safety hazard.

"You hit a crack in the pavement with a bike, it's no big deal, but with a little 4-inch wheel, it gets to be a bigger deal."

Lime says riders must be 18 years or older-- and while these meridian teens aren't 18 yet-- they aren't necessarily excited about them.

"Eh, if I had to choose this, than riding my board or a bike, I would rather do that," said Nathan, a Meridian teenager. "Cause that's more fun, cause you can do a lot more than what I feel like you can do with these."

The e-scooters cost one dollar to activate, and 15 cents per minute after that.

"So what you do is you open up the app," said Cavener. "You find the scooter or the bike that you want to ride, you scan the QR code, you bring your phone over the QR code-- it'll give you an announcement that it's unlocking the bike, and then we should get an audio alert. Once it's done, I just click up the kickstand, put my foot on… and off we go."

Bird -- another e-scooter company -- is expected to launch in Boise soon. Fotsch is hoping there'll be room for both markets in the Boise mobility landscape.

"If we could get our hands on electric-assist bikes, that would help us a lot," Fotsch said.