The Denver City Council has passed contracts allowing both Lime and Lyft to operate within city limits. The city will receive a new network of bikes and e-scooters for people to ride for at least the next five years.
Lawmakers approved licenses for Lime and Lyft, both of which will provide up to 3,000 electric scooters and at least 600 pedal and electric bikes for locals and tourists. The new licenses differ from the city’s current agreement with private micromobility companies, as they have different requirements and branch out from the current pilot program.
The new licenses require service availability in every neighborhood, designated parking spots, free and subsidized passes, and enforcement meant to reduce the risk of accidents between riders and pedestrians.
In the past, issues have occurred involving right-of-way laws with e-scooters and bikes. According to the director of government affairs for the streets department, Jason Gallardo, “The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is not here to advocate for the use of right-of-way and have it not been handled correctly. We were here to say that we came up with a license agreement that will not fix these problems, and if not, then they’ll be penalized for it.”
Riders are not supposed to use sidewalks or park them in a way that obstructs people from walking or using a wheelchair. In the event riders are caught violating policies, the companies will face penalties like smaller fleet sizes. To document violations, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will deploy parking enforcement officers to document violations. Anyone can report violations to 311, and it’s up to the companies to right the wrongs before they get penalized.
In an effort to reduce accidents and the risk of penalty, Lyft spokesperson Jordan Levine discussed the company’s strategy: “We’re going to strongly encourage people to use those designated areas. And we’ve already scoped our places that are high traffic, near transit and popular venues, and near areas where we’re seeing high scooter usage, to try and make it as convenient as possible for riders.”
Lyft is investing $25 million in its Denver bike and scooter system, according to Denverite. Both Lime and Lyft also plan to provide 5,280 free memberships to locals, which will equal a $10 million investment in moving people without cars.
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