What you need to know if it's your first time using a Lime electric scooter

Geographically speaking, San Francisco is undoubtedly the skate park of the city. With its steep hills and smooth roads, it’s a great place to experience some fun on wheels. If you're looking for alternative modes of transportation, bikes and skateboards are no longer your only options. Lime electric scooters are coming to San Francisco, so get ready to see them on the road more often.

Thanks to a new powered scooter share license, San Francisco will now allow 500 Lime scooters on the road, with that number set to double by February 2020. That said, there's always a blur of lime green whizzing by you on the road, so whether you're riding or driving next to it, you'll be wondering how to coexist peacefully.

According to transportation experts who spoke to USA TODAY , a large number of electric scooters on the road instead of cars may actually reduce traffic congestion. Combined with the fact that Lime electric scooters are much cheaper than cars or rideshares during peak hours, this will make the electric vehicle option attractive to many commuters. If you've never used a Lime scooter before but want to give it a try, here's everything you need to know:

Download app

Mario Tamar/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Head to the app store and download the Lime app. You need this to rent a scooter. On the app, you can find a scooter near you, get easy directions to the location, and instructions on how to unlock and go. First, you sync your credit card with the app so you can purchase your first ride. It costs $1 to unlock the scooter, then you are charged per minute of riding. Per-minute rates for Lime scooters vary based on the city and time of day. Each scooter has a scannable code on it that your Lime app will be able to read, which will let you know the current rates before you decide to unlock it.

looking for a scooter


Your app will let you know where to find the scooter closest to your current GPS location. If there are no scooters available near you, the app will provide you with walking directions to the next nearest station. Since there are only 500 Lime scooters currently available in San Francisco, you may need to spend some time tracking them down, especially during rush hours. Once you unlock your scooter, give it a once over to make sure nothing is damaged or out of place.

Safe riding

I know, riding a scooter looks easy – kids do it all the time. However, using an e-scooter can be very dangerous if you don't pay attention to your behavior and that of other vehicles on the road. Although not all cities require helmets, you should definitely wear one when riding in traffic.

To use a Lime electric scooter, find a safe place to join traffic (pretend you're a car) and proceed carefully, putting one foot on the scooter and gently pushing away with the other. You don't need to push hard because you get electric boost once you accelerate the accelerator on the right handlebar. The scooter can reach speeds of up to 37 mph, and while it feels fast, don't hit the highway.

To use the brakes on your Lime scooter, squeeze the brakes with your left and right hands. Even if you don't break it, at least place your left hand on the break so you can easily reach it. You'll also want to take advantage of your downtime breaks. Avoid potholes and obey all traffic laws. That means you must stop at red lights and stop signs, and you need to signal before turning.


Don't ride on the sidewalk. While this may feel safer for you, it can be more dangerous for pedestrians. Let’s be honest, some pedestrians are already pretty pissed off about scooters, so if you want the city to embrace them, just play by the rules.

park scooter


After using your Lime e-scooter, never block driveways or curbs, handicap ramps, or parking areas adjacent to private property. If you have to run into the store for a few minutes or have a quick meeting, you may find it easier to keep the meter running (aka "pause the ride") rather than ending your ride and allowing someone else to use it. Just make sure you always park it in a safe place as you are responsible for your scooter while the meter is running. When you're done using the scooter for the day, lock it and end the ride in the app, then place it upright with the stand down so others can easily find and use it.

Before jumping on this trend, take some time to consider whether an electric scooter is right for you. If you want to give it a try, you can choose a time when you are not in a hurry and there is no traffic jam to test drive a Lime scooter. Get some rider education before hitting the road to make sure you're truly ready to ride.