Scooters Return To Cleveland This Weekend, With New COVID-19 Protocols

Scooters lined up along Euclid Avenue
Scooters will return to Cleveland with new rules and restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. [Kevin Anderson / ideastream]

Scooters could return to Cleveland as early as this weekend, now with operating guidelines from the city based on information gathered during last year’s six-month trial period – and coronavirus protocols.

Five electric scooter vendors came to Cleveland for a trial run last summer, after Cuyahoga County officials reached out to several communities to gage interest in a scooter or bikeshare programs and issued a request for information (RFI) to companies.

Residents used scooters and similar shared devices for about 2.5 million minutes over 213,000 rides during the trial period, the City of Cleveland said in a press release.

Scooters will now be permitted to operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., with an increased maximum speed of 15 miles per hour, according to the release. The policies will last through Labor Day, while the city continues collecting information about scooter use. The city plans to focus particularly on parking habits and sidewalk use, according to the press release.

Cleveland is also adopting new protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including requirements for companies to sanitize scooters any time employees come into contact with them, such as recharging, rebalancing or other maintenance.

Riders are also encouraged to wipe down the rentable rides and wash their hands before and after riding.   

The city is planning to issue permit renewals to four scooter companies: Bird, Lime, Spin and Wheels. Each company submitted its own sanitization practices for approval, according to a city spokesperson. They also need to submit screenshots of required COVID-19 messaging for riders prior to the permit renewals.

Permits can be revoked or suspended if companies are not following coronavirus sanitization guidelines, the city said.

Spin plans to sanitize each scooter that enters its warehouse with disinfectant wipes or spray prior to any repairs or charging, according to a company statement. All of Spin’s delivery van cab surfaces will be fully disinfected after each shift and towels used for disinfecting will either be thrown away or washed.

Spin does not rely on contractors to maintain or deliver scooters, the company said, and all employees will be monitored to ensure compliance with the new rules. Those employees are also instructed to maintain social distancing in the warehouse and during field work, the company said.

Lime, Bird and Wheels did not respond to ideastream’s requests for comment.

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