May 4, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Lime – a micro-mobility company that operates e-scooter and bike rental programs – recently began its rollout of electric mopeds in several parts of the city, including western Queens.
The company plans to initially deploy 100 mopeds in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, and a spokesperson said that number was expected to increase to 500 in the coming weeks. Lime also plans to expand into the Bronx.
Lime held a launch event and live safety demonstration Friday in Brooklyn to announce its NYC fleet.
“Lime’s mission is to support a future for transportation that is shared, affordable and carbon-free, which is why we’re focused on building a platform with an electric vehicle to serve trips under five miles, all available on the Lime app,” Lime CEO Wayne Ting said in a statement.
The Lime app shows users where mopeds are currently available and indicates where they can be parked at the end of a ride – which as of Tuesday morning included Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Elmhurst.
The mopeds, which do not require a dock, must be parked on the street in a space that is legal for the following 24 hours at the end of a ride.
The mopeds, which reach a top speed of 28 mph and can travel 87 miles on a single charge, cost $1 to unlock and 39 cents a minute.
The company offers discounts through two programs: Lime Access – for Pell grant recipients, job seekers and low-income riders – and Lime Aid – for teachers, non-profit employees, performance artists and frontline and hospitality workers.
In a news release, Lime said it also plans to hire more than 50 New Yorkers in the coming weeks – with a focus on NYCHA residents and people who were previously incarcerated.
The company said it has instituted a number of safety measures and plans to hold regular training sessions and events to promote responsible riding.
Safety measures for the e-moped program include an in-app instructional course and test, which was developed with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and must be completed before a new user’s first ride.
Riders must be 21 or older and have a valid driver’s license to rent a moped.
Lime also requires riders to take a photo of themselves wearing a helmet before each rental and complete a liveness test – in which a rider makes various facial expressions into the camera to prove that they are the person pictured in their driver’s license. This test is conducted using artificial intelligence.
Each moped will include two high-visibility helmets – in different sizes – in its carrying case, and an infrared sensor checks whether a helmet has been removed from the case.
Riders are required to wear helmets when operating the mopeds, and Lime said that anyone who repeatedly violates safety measures may be kicked out of the program.
Scott Gastel, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), said Lime agreed to abide by the same safety measures – including rider training, helmet compliance and anonymized data sharing – that fellow moped-sharing service Revel adopted last summer.
Revel had instituted the measures in August, following a several-week suspension of its service after two rider deaths.
“We’ll watch closely to ensure they honor their commitments, and we’ll work with our partners in government, including the City Council, on regulations to keep e-moped scooter riders safe,” Gastel said in a statement.
The San Francisco-based company currently operates electric mopeds, bikes and scooters in Washington, D.C. and Paris.
Lime will also be deploying e-scooters in New York City this year.
The DOT recently selected Lime as one of three companies to participate in an electric scooter sharing program in the Bronx, starting this summer.