What do you know about Lime electric scooters?
Lime’s new electric scooters have started to appear in the centre of Madrid and are already being seen as a pretty attractive leisure and transport option. We tell you everything you need to know about them, with all their advantages and disadvantages.
At some point in early August, large, sturdy scooters began to appear in the centre of Madrid, weaving through the traffic or parked on the city’s pavements and squares. The large Lime logo can be seen on their fronts. Because of the heat, or perhaps out of shyness, I couldn’t see anyone using them, although they have quickly become a boom product, at least in the city centre. I remember that to me it looked more like a toy than a means of transport. But I had to try it and I set myself a long itinerary, without being very clear where the limits of the “central agglomeration” were. As I say, it had to be tested.
Downloading the application is easy and there is not too much information to fill in. Acceptance of conditions, a phone number or Facebook account number, credit card number and that’s about it. All that remains to be done is to look at the map of your city and see where the riders are so you can go out and look for one.
I located them in Callao and in Fuencarral. There are usually several of them there, usually parked around the Metro stations. I took out my phone again, opened the application (in my case, using the iOS system) and did exactly what I was asked to unlock the scooter: scan with the camera of your mobile a QR code located on the handlebar.
Ding ding! The signal indicates “Go ahead” and the only thing to do is to fold up the scooter’s sidestand and to climb on. The instructions say you must get the momentum going before accelerating, but the fact is that the small vehicle also starts by directly pressing the accelerator trigger on the right-hand side of the handlebars. In my case it was comfortable to start it with my thumb. I’m already on the move! The first difficulty is to avoid the pedestrians and I soon realise that, although the scooter enables you to go at a very low speed, if you want to use it as a means of transport the best thing is to go faster. We have to go out onto the roads, preferably in a bike lane, if we don’t want to be in danger from road traffic. From Callao I go to Madrid Río to see how fast it can go on a track. There everything is easier, there are few people around and I put the speed at 33 Km per hour. I feel the breeze in my face and under my feet, it’s quite stable. The handlebars, for my size (1.76m) are a suitable height. Everything seems quite robust and encourages a certain peace of mind, without forgetting the reduced size of the wheels and the total lack of suspension. The accelerator response and the brake response are very good, and although it may seem that dry braking is dangerous, the only handle to the left of the handlebars acts on both wheels at the same time, making the stop quite stable.
On the spot
Smooth walkways and pavements provide smooth, easy and pleasant shooting. The scooter is solid and stable until the bumps come. Obviously, the reduced size of the wheels, the lack of suspension of any kind and the rigidity of the whole vehicle make bumps in the road the worst of enemies. If they are deep or stick out a lot, they can be a real danger. A poorly levelled sewer or a hole in the pavement can provide the perfect opportunity to fall flat on your face on the ground. And one really essential piece of advice: Avoiding cobblestones is absolutely vital! Cobblestones make it seem like we are driving with square wheels.
We enter unknown terrain. In some cities like Madrid, electric scooters are not yet regulated and it is not very clear where they can circulate. We do know that this month a new regulation comes into force and that scooters of this kind are covered by this regulation. The possibilities of this vehicle will be, to ensure the best safety conditions, more or less limited to cycle lanes, with which the whole city is not fully equipped. We will have to forget about walkways and pavements, making many routes quite impossible.
Using the scooter involves a 1-euro entry charge for unlocking plus 0.15 euros per minute of use.
The application allows us in the middle of the route, to stop to have a coffee or to do some errands while keeping the scooter reserved, basically to make sure that when we want to take it again it has not been taken by another Lime user. It is important to know that the user time keeps running, so that we will be charged for it as if the scooter was in use.
Watch out, it’s blocked!
My first trip was blocked by leaving the central agglomeration and I was forced to return by taxi. Make sure you have clear limits within the application.
Also, be sure to block the scooter when you’re not going to use it any more, for obvious reasons.
The application allows you to see the track history, routes, cost, kilometres, emissions saved (although it is not clear for which type of vehicle this applies). Which is very useful for carrying out cost control. If we think that something is wrong on the invoice, such as that we have done less time than the application tells us, the customer service works pretty well and is fast.
Watch out for your mobile battery
If, right in the middle of your journey, your mobile phone is running out of battery, you will have a serious problem for shutting down the system. However, this happens with all sharing services that need applications in order to be used.