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10/3/2018 11:22:00 AM
Suddenly they are everywhere in Bloomington: Scooter, bike share growth still an open question

Kurt Christian, Herald-Times

The second scooter rental business to launch in Bloomington in the past month joined a rapidly swelling ecosystem of shareable, alternative transportation options.

Bird and Lime scooters have drawn polar reactions from pedestrians and drivers as the city takes a hands-off approach to regulating the new services. The city’s uReport system shows a handful of citizens have filed incident reports about not just the electric scooters, but also the city and Indiana University’s Pace bike share system. As the number of shared bikes and scooters continues to grow beyond the 600-unit mark, city officials and commissions will have to weigh the new business’ benefits against their negative impacts. Lauren Bell coordinated Lime’s launch in Bloomington last weekend, which added 450 scooters to the 100 introduced by Bird about two weeks earlier.

“It always helps going into the city that government is welcoming you in,” Bell said. “That was really the main factor in bringing us here.” 

Bell said Mayor John Hamilton was enthusiastic about opening up the city to competing scooter shares. Though Lime doesn’t share the equation it uses to determine how many units it brings to a city, Bell said operations in every city have the ability to grow and shrink based on market demands.

“The few days we’ve been on the ground have been really good,” Bell said. “I think there’s room for growth here.”

Incident reports filed with the city show some residents are experiencing growing pains. Residents report issues with abandoned scooters cluttering sidewalks and safety concerns regarding the scooters’ ability to travel up to 15 mph in the pedestrian realm. Alex Crowley, director of the city’s economic and sustainable development department, cautioned against impulses that might strangle the new offerings.

Related Links:
• Herald-Times full text

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• COMMENTARY: Purdue plays bad guy on Bird electric scooters students love
• West Lafayette: Bird, you have one day to pick up your electric scooters
• Bird electric scooters: Lafayette issues cease and desist, promises to impound
• Scooter rules sought by Bloomington Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission
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