Electric scooters arrive in Rochester
Lime scooters make their debut today in Rochester.
A few things to know:
-You use a smartphone app to pay for the scooter rental. The rental costs $1 upfront and then $0.29 per minute.
-Helmets are encouraged, but not provided.
-Riding on sidewalks is prohibited. The scooters should be used in bike lanes, on shoulders of roads, and along the 85 miles of the city's trail system.
There are reps from Lime on hand at Thursdays Downtown today to assist the public and answer questions. The company also offers a tutorial through the app. The scooters are part of a four-month pilot program recently adopted by the Rochester City Council.
Reader question: Prohibited from sidewalk use, is this downtown or citywide? It's a scooter! Does the city expect them to be used on the busy streets?
Answer: The scooters are to be operated like a bicycle. So, that means bike lanes, shoulders of roads, and other designated bike paths. Here is where it gets interesting, though: the city only bans bikes on sidewalks in the central business district. That would mean you could use the scooters on sidewalks outside of downtown? Nope. Because of Minnesota Statute, Section 169.225, which says motorized scooters must stay off the sidewalks in nearly all cases.
Subd. 2: No person may operate a motorized foot scooter upon a sidewalk, except when necessary to enter or leave adjacent property. No person may operate a motorized foot scooter that is carrying any person other than the operator.
So for now, riders will have to stay off all city sidewalks. We will be following to see how this all plays out.
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.