Electric scooters have rapidly become a great hit in Washington, D.C. like it has across the U.S. It has happened so fast that cities from east to west are still scrambling solutions on how to best regulate their use. And the District is no exception. Here is where the situation has evolved into so far.
In the nation’s capital, scooters are motor vehicles and subject to specific rules on Operation of Personal Mobility Devices within the D.C. code. In order to use it accordingly, therefore, riders must:
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Ride their vehicles at 10 mph (16 kmh) the fastest.
- Avoid sidewalks within the Central Business District that includes downtown.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars.
- Remove their headset, headphones and earphones from one of their ears on any roadway and sidewalk.
The rules are only a few, simple and plain ones to keep the riders and others on the streets safe. Yet surprisingly, they don’t make it obligatory to wear a helmet during the ride. So, legally speaking, you are free to let your hair, or whatever is left of them (sorry guys), get more air while riding your electric scooters.
But to be reasonably much safer from all hazards in the traffic, you should wear a helmet at all times. Otherwise, you know you will have to count on every other vehicle, as well as pedestrians, with your life.
It should also go without saying that knee and elbow pads can protect your body from further harm in case of an accident. It is better to stick to a full gear policy to understandably sacrifice some of your ride joy than to regret not having worn them after something went terribly wrong on the road.
Well, when it comes to riding a vehicle, you know there are fundamentally two options, and none is cost free:
You can either ride your own vehicle and pay for purchase, maintenance etcetera or pay a service provider and rent it. That is, unless, of course, you have such a good-hearted, extremely kind and generous benefactor (a best buddy or parent, whatever) who could lend you his/hers at no cost any time you need it.
As for any other vehicle, the purchase prices vary wildly depending on the market, but to give you an idea of how much in the least it would cost you to buy an electric scooter, possibly one not everybody would be jealous of, I can put the figure at about $300. This could go as high as 10 times as much according to your preferences.
Renting options, therefore, might be more appealing to a much wider audience. And that explains the mushrooming of service providers just over the past few years across the nation. The following section will outline three of them that are servicing the D.C. area.
Most companies are offering their services online, through smartphone applications. Those apps are so easy to use and operate very similarly. They first ask you to register with their system and once you do so, you can locate their closest vehicle to you, pay with a credit card to unlock it and then enjoy your ride till whenever you need to leave it. Read on to learn about the top three service providers in the District and how to rent their electric scooters.
- Bird: It has an app for both iOS and Android users, charges $1 at the start of each journey and then 15 cents per minute of riding. It makes available GPS-enabled and wonderfully comfortable scooters with a 30-mile range for their customers who must be at least 18 to ride them and are responsible to bring their own helmets if they like to wear them during their journey. The dockless scooter company’s “birds” are available to rent in over 100 cities, not only across the U.S. including Washington, D.C. but also in Europe and the Middle East. To enjoy unlimited rides with monthly rentals, users are asked to join their waitlist.
- Lime: This is another company that takes the quality of its services as seriously. It, too, has an app for both iOS and Android users that works exactly the same way Bird’s does. And riding what the company calls a Lime-S electric scooter costs the user a $1 fixed rate plus 15 cents per each minute of the ride. Its services cover even a wider area, from the U.S. to as far as Australia and New Zealand.
- Skip: The third and the last on our list is not any less professional in how it makes affordable mobility a huge success in the District. Its app is similarly available for devices with both iOS and Android software and works the same way, too. Each journey starts with a standard $1 and continues on a 25-cents/minute rate. The best thing about Skip is that you can request a free helmet ahead of your ride.