As time goes on, electric scooters keep proving themselves a fast and fun way to commute around town. And not to mention, electric scooters are substantially cheaper than conventional commuting methods, like Uber.
And with more and more scooter rental companies offering their services in many cities, renting an electric scooter has become easier than ever. And that’s what we’ll talk about in this article.
The Short Answer
If you meet all the requirements needed to rent an electric scooter, download an electric scooter rental application on your phone.
There, you’ll find a map of the nearest electric scooters to you. And after you find one, scan the QR code on the handlebars and start riding.
What Are the Requirements for Riding Rental Scooters?
When some people hear the word scooter, they think of a toy for children. In reality, electric bikes and scooters are classified as motorized vehicles. This means there are serious requirements and rules for renting one, such as:
- You must be 18 years or older.
- You must have a full or provisional driver’s license.
- Most companies advise against letting others use your account since you will be charged with any misbehaving that takes place.
- You must never ride a scooter under the influence.
How to Rent an Electric Scooter
If you thought this would be a tedious task where you’d have to go to some company’s headquarters and fill out paperwork, we’re happy to tell you that the process of electric scooter rentals is much easier than that.
Scooter companies, like Bird and Lime, have made it easy for customers by making the entire process handled through their phones.
There’s a map of available scooters in your area on the application. Then you can either reserve one or simply walk to it. You’ll then locate and scan the electric scooter’s QR code to start renting it.
And to make it even more convenient for you, there are many locations where people can dock their electric scooters, so you won’t have to veer too much off course to drop your scooter off.
Is Renting Electric Scooters Expensive?
Perhaps the most significant upside to electric scooter rentals, other than skipping traffic and using the much safer bike lanes, is the rental price.
After you scan the QR code, a few dollars will be pulled from your wallet on the application to start renting the electric scooter; then, you’ll get charged a small fee per minute of use. And to give you an idea of how cheap e-scooters are, roaming around on a Lime or Bird scooter for 15 minutes is roughly the same price of a cup of coffee.
Best Electric Scooter Rental Companies
In the past few years, electric scooters have gained enormous popularity, which led to a boom of companies that offer scooter rentals. And for someone that’s just getting started with electric scooter rentals, some people might be a little lost with which company to choose.
So here are the two most popular and widely available electric scooter companies out there. You can find both scooters in major metropolitan areas in the US, such as San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and more.
Lime was initially only available in San Francisco, California. But they quickly grew an international company, offering services in over 100 cities in 20 different countries.
They’re also straightforward to use. For example, the Lime app and QR method has made renting lime scooters and bikes easier than ever.
Lime scooters are also the most widespread in the world. And in our opinion, availability is an essential part of electric scooter rentals. So we say that Lime takes the number one spot against its competitors.
The Lime scooters sport a decent 250-watt electric motor that has no problem driving on bike lanes, normal roads, or going up wheelchair ramps. So you wouldn’t have to get off your scooter during your ride.
The battery is also very capable. When fully charged, the scooter can travel up to 20 miles (32 kilometers), which is more than enough for most commutes inside the city.
Bird scooters are available in 25 countries, five more than Lime, but Bird scooters are actually available in fewer cities than Lime scooters. Nevertheless, it’s still the second most widespread company for electric scooters.
However, Bird scooters are a bit different from Lime scooters. They have a slightly longer foot deck that leaves more room for you to stand on. They also have larger grips that people find easier to hold on to.
However, in the wheel department, Bird has smaller wheels compared to Lime’s 10-inch wheels. But since you’re most likely riding the scooter on a bike lane, there won’t be as many bumps and potholes as normal roads, and the ride will still feel comfortable.
Bird’s electric motors are also quite powerful, so you’ll have an easier time accelerating and reaching larger speeds.
What Tests Should You Do on a Scooter Before Renting?
Given the large number of electric scooters available for rental, some will be in worse conditions than others.
And although e-scooter companies perform regular maintenance on their scooters, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and you should always do a few tests on the scooter you’re going to be commuting with to diminish the possibility of injury as much as possible.
So we’ve compiled a list of everything you should do before renting an electric scooter.
There are two types of scooter tires out there, inflatable and solid. Inflatable tires absorb more road bumps and make for an overall more comfortable ride, while solid tires require less maintenance since you don’t have to re-inflate them all the time.
Both require some inspection before riding. If an inflatable tire seems to be worn out and cracking at the edges, you should leave that scooter every time since the tire could pop while you’re riding.
However, if deep cracks are going through the tire and the rim, that means that the tire is solid, and those big cracks can get caught on obstacles on the road and throw you off balance, which could result in a crash.
By far the most important part of any motorized vehicle. There is probably no worse situation to be in than having the brakes fail on you when you’re going fast.
Ride the scooter, give it some throttle to go forward a few feet, and then try the brakes somewhere safe. Repeat the process three or four times to get a feel for the braking intensity and make sure the brakes are working fine.
You probably don’t want to rent a scooter; ride it for a couple of minutes, only to find out you only have enough battery to go an extra mile. You also shouldn’t go looking for fully charged scooters if you only need to travel five miles.
Find out the distance you need to go and check if the scooter has enough power to get you there. The battery percentage will be on the top of the handlebar screen.
The throttle response will differ from one scooter to another. And if you’re new to e-scooters, you might get an acceleration shock the first few times you ride one.
So the first thing you do when getting on the scooter is slowly push the throttle to get a feel for the power. Then brake, and do it again a few times to get used to how it feels.
At this point, the throttle should feel smooth and light. A heavy throttle will cause some pain after a few minutes of riding, and a sticky or jumpy throttle will increase the possibility of injury on the ride.
What Are Some Safety Measures to Take When Riding a Scooter
You shouldn’t forget that you’re riding a motorized vehicle that can go up to 15 mph (~25 kmph). And many people got hurt going at much lower speeds. So to minimize the risk of injury, there are some safety measures you should take.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear fluorescent clothes to be noticed easily by cars.
- Always ride defensively and assume everyone can’t see you. This will make you more aware as a rider and will help you predict other’s driving mistakes.
- Never ride on sidewalks.
You should be 18 years or older and have a license to ride an electric scooter. If you meet those requirements, you can download an e-scooter company like Lime or Bird, where you’ll find a map of scooters near you.
Then you should perform a few tests to ensure your safety. If the scooter passes the tests, scan the QR code, and you’re ready to go.
It’s advisable that you follow some general safety rules while riding. For example, you should wear protective gear and ride defensively.