EVERETT — Thrilling and just a little scary — my first ride on an electric scooter went smoother than I expected.
On Friday, one of the nation’s leading scooter-rental and bike-share companies, Lime, dropped 100 rentable battery-powered scooters on Everett streets for a three-month pilot. The city is the third in Washington to get the e-scooters.
I was an easy convert to the electric pedal-assist bikes rideshare companies have been rolling out. The extra oomph, when needed, makes conquering most hills effortless. They weren’t noisy and obtrusive like I had imagined.
The scooters are just as quiet. To get started requires kicking off with one foot. A throttle then controls speeds and a hand brake slows the ride. The first few moments were shaky, if not a bit jerky, but it was easy to keep my balance. Keeping a steady speed was difficult with the thumb throttle, but the brakes didn’t slip at all on the wet sidewalk.
Nervous with my first ride, I did stick to the sidewalk, though not allowed in the city.
All in all, it was an enjoyable way to get around, requiring no work on my part. For short rides, a scooter would be preferable to a bike. Though traveling farther than a mile it might get uncomfortable to stand for that long. And riding in the streets intimidated me, especially with cars entering and exiting parking spots.
Lime held a kick-off event downtown Friday morning. The constant rain didn’t deter Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin from taking her first ride. She and her deputy mayor, Nick Harper, pushed off along Wetmore Avenue as television cameras tracked their moves.
“It was super fun,” Franklin said after returning. “I was surprised how comfortable and stable I felt. You hop on and zip away.”
She can see herself riding the scooters between meetings at Everett Station, the Port of Everett and her City Hall office.
“It goes the appropriate speed,” Franklin said. “I felt very comfortable on the road.”
City code allows scooters to be ridden in bike lanes and on roads with speed limits of 25 mph or less. A helmet also is required.
The scooters have a top speed of 15 mph but will go faster down hills, said Isaac Gross, Lime’s general manager for Washington. They cost riders $1 to unlock and 25 cents each minute thereafter. An app is used to unlock the scooters, which don’t require a docking station. They are supposed to be left in the space between the curb and the sidewalk, where flower pots, light poles and bike racks are located.
Downtown resident Christina Strand also had her inaugural ride Friday.
“It was intuitive and handled corners really well,” Strand said. “It wasn’t scary at all.”
As I headed into the office, Lime crews were already distributing the scooters downtown, lining them up neatly for riders. And two riders zoomed by (though on the sidewalk and without a helmet).
Give them a try, it could open up a new ride for short trips. But do wear a helmet. After all, you will be mixing with traffic.
Got a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-374-4165. Please include your name and city of residence. Took an e-scooter for the first time? I want to hear about your ride.