Published: Aug. 17, 2021

Hundreds of miles of bikeable paths will soon be scootable as part of a Boulder pilot program

CU Boulder is partnering with the city of Boulder, Boulder County, the Boulder Chamber, Lime and B-Cycle to launch a new shared micromobility program that includes a new e-scooter pilot in East Boulder and additional eco-friendly BCycle e-bikes and docking stations across the city. The new Lime e-scooters will be available for use beginning Aug. 18. Key to the pilot program is the geofencing of scooters, which will be rideable only east of 28th Street and not on Main Campus.

people riding lime electric scootersThe shared micromobility program launch follows approval by City Council in September 2020 to allow dockless e-scooter and e-bike companies to operate in the city. In March 2021, the city issued an RFP for operators of the program and selected Lime and BCycle, LLC (a subsidiary of Trek Bicycle) as operators for the program. Bid requests were reviewed by the city, CU Boulder and Boulder County for alignment with community goals.

Following a post-pandemic reduction of bus routes in the regional transportation network, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to consider alternative transportation options getting to and from campus and around town. Campus Buff Buses will run as normal and at full capacity, a welcome change following COVID-19 restrictions. CU Boulder also continues to offer its two carshare programs, Colorado CarShare and ZipCar, and hopes that with the expansion of alternative transportation offerings, students will no longer feel the need to bring personal cars to campus.

“We are pleased that so many partners who share values around multimodal transportation options and climate solutions have come together to make this program a reality,” said David Kang, CU Boulder vice chancellor for infrastructure and sustainability. “E-scooters and e-bikes have the potential to be transformational in our efforts to get cars off the road while also improving the quality of transportation services for our students, faculty, staff and the broader community in ways that are cleaner and more sustainable.”

Unlike the bike program fee (paid for by students from tuition expenses), scooters will assess out-of-pocket fees on a per-minute basis. Standard scooter prices include a $1 unlock fee, plus 29 cents per minute. Other payment options will include a monthly unlock pass for $5.99 and $16.99 day passes. Low-income students and Pell Grant recipients qualify for discounted rates.

When e-scooters are first introduced this fall, there will be geo-fenced zones in which the devices stop running, including the entire Main Campus region. Scooters will notify riders when they are nearing “no-ride” zones, and the devices will have the ability to automatically slow down in areas with low speed limits. Each scooter is also equipped with headlights, tail lights and other security features.

Safety is a priority for the e-scooter program; the city and CU Boulder are taking the following steps to promote safe use of the devices:

  • The dockless e-scooters will be deployed in zones that allow for clear, unobstructed passage of pedestrians on/near sidewalks and in commercial areas and that do not impede Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility or the boarding or departure of transit users. Lime is required to collect all e-scooters and replace them at deployment zones daily.    

  • The e-scooters will be geofenced, meaning they will shut down if users try to take them out of designated areas. Scooters will not be operable west of 28th Street, including on the CU Boulder Main Campus. 

  • The e-scooters are outfitted with Lime’s Training Mode, a new feature designed to make the first ride on a Lime scooter smoother and more comfortable. When a rider turns on Training Mode, the max scooter speed will be reduced to just 8 miles per hour, so first-time or early riders can get the feel for riding at a comfortable speed.  

  • The e-scooters have a speed limit of 15 mph and can only be used during the hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

  • Riders are encouraged to always wear a helmet. Lime provides discounted helmets – more information is available here.

“Not only are e-scooters fun to ride, but their GPS technology allows us to manage speed, shut down in ‘no-ride’ zones and incentivize safe behaviors we want to see of riders,” says Sustainability Transportation Specialist Clark Rider.

B-cycle boasts 300 bikes at over 45 stations around Boulder, including more than 16 stations on CU’s campus. Lime scooters will launch as a fleet of 200 and will have designated parking hubs around Boulder.

Students, faculty and staff can learn more about the e-scooter pilot program on the city’s micromobility site, or download the Lime or Boulder B-cycle app to sign up and start riding. For those who want to wait and try an e-scooter first, there will be demos available during CU Bike Fest on Aug. 31.