New rentable devices…with helmets I think. pic.twitter.com/EOXNtS1N5M
— Northwest Urbanist ☂️ (@NWUrbanist) November 16, 2020
A “a more accessible” scooter with a ride the company behind it says is smoother and more “suited to Seattle’s hills and weather” has joined the city’s fleet of private company-share transportation options.
Wheels has released its seated rental scooters onto the streets of Seattle Monday:
Wheels are designed far differently from traditional stand-up scooters. A seated riding position and low center of gravity provide a safer and more stable ride — one that’s more accessible for a much broader demographic, as evidenced by the fact that half of Wheels‘ riders are women and one-third are over the age of 35. Large 14-inch tires create a smooth ride across bumps, cracks, and uneven surfaces. And, unlike other offerings, Wheels comes with its own integrated helmet system! Initially, 20% of Wheels scooters in Seattle will have integrated helmets, but this will soon be scaled up to cover the whole fleet.
The e-bike share company was created by founders of the dog walking app Wag.
The Los Angeles company is part of a three-part pilot in Seattle testing providers with a variety of rental solutions — Lime rolled onto the streets in September.
- LINK was chosen as the highest ranking company offering standing scooters. This small, convenient option is the standard style of scooter which has proven very popular in cities across the world. LINK offers a new, more robust stand-style scooter that we are excited might reduce maintenance and safety concerns.
- Wheels was chosen as the highest ranking company offering seated scooters, which are a more accessible option for many people with mobility impairments. Living up to their name, these scooters have larger wheels which may offer a more stable ride suited to Seattle’s hills and weather. Beginning with a portion of the fleet, and expanding to every device by fall, Wheels scooters in Seattle will also include a built-in helmet with a biodegradable sanitation liner which can be removed after each ride so the helmet will be clean for the next customer.
- Lime was chosen as the company that will offer both bikes and scooters. In order to support bike share, which has become a very important part of Seattle’s transportation system, we designated that one permit slot would go to a company which also offered bikes. Lime will be permitted to deploy the same number of scooters as the other companies They are also already permitted to offer bike share in Seattle, and has committed to grow their bike share fleet from around 500 bikes to 2,000 bikes this fall.
CHS reported here on the pilot that includes helmet requirements, sidewalk restrictions, and a 15 MPH limit on the electric motor-powered vehicles.
The Wheels service typically charges $0.35 a minute. Unlike other services, it has not charged customers an unlocking fee. And its features are included to planned integrated helmets — something else the other services lack. The company said about 20% of its launch fleet will include the helmets with plans to add the feature to all scooters in its fleet.
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