In an effort to improve transportation options in 74% of underserved neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the city is launching an e-scooter program in collaboration with Spin. Earlier in September, the City Commission approved $400,000 for an e-scooter and bike-share pilot program.
Spin, which is owned by the Ford Motor Company, plans to start the pilot program in phases. According to officials, the pilot will start with a 12 square-mile area that includes downtown, neighborhoods, and business districts. Initially, 300 scooters will be available. The fleet, however, has the potential to grow to as many as 1,500.
To celebrate the beginning of the program, Spin will offer unlimited free rides up to 60 minutes this upcoming weekend, starting from 6 a.m. Friday until midnight Sunday. At the normal rate, scooters are $1 to unlock, plus 15 cents per minute. Low-income residents will be offered a reduced rate.
Riders have the option to sign up for e-scooter usage through the spin app. The app will provide a map to find the nearest designated parking area. In order to make the program as accessible as possible, rides don’t need to have a smartphone or a credit card to rent a scooter. A text-based SMS system is available, as well as Spin Access ride credit, which can be purchased with cash, credit, or debit, at a local Spin office.
In regard to safety measures, the scooters can only go 10 miles per hour. They will also slow down or power down automatically when crossing a specific area or going into pedestrian-only zones like college campuses or Calder Plaza.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spin staffers will disinfect the scooters every time they’re collected and brought back to the warehouse for inspection. Riders are encouraged to wear masks, use disinfectant wipes on the handlebars, wash their hands before and after riding, or wear gloves as an extra safety precaution.
While these devices do offer a cleaner, more cost-efficient mode of transportation for short-distance trips, improper riding and negligence have the potential to result in serious accidents. We’ll be keeping track of accidents in the area related to e-scooters.
To learn more about e-scooter expansions across the country, click here to visit the Rideshare Law Group blog.