Electric scooters have made it to Omaha. So we rode one – Omaha World-Herald

Electric scooters showed up in clusters in downtown, midtown and the Aksarben, Blackstone and Benson areas Wednesday morning. So we rode one.

The scooters are beefier than one might expect, and they’re also much easier to use than one might fear.

Download the Lime app, register your account, then use the app or your eyeballs to find a scooter. Then use your phone to scan a barcode on the scooter, punch a button or two and off you go.

Helmets are recommended, but not provided. So bring one, or know the risk you’re taking if you fall.

The app shows a green area of operation that encompasses much of Omaha with borders set at approximately Interstate 680 on the west, Interstate 80 on the south, Sorensen Parkway on the north and the Nebraska-Iowa border on the east. Several areas where scooters are not allowed are marked in red, such as the construction area at the Gene Leahy Mall.

The scooters are meant to be driven on the street, just like a bicycle. And, for the most part, during our 11-minute ride, we were treated like bicyclists by other drivers. In Omaha, which isn’t a particularly bike-friendly city, that’s a good thing and a bad thing.

During our jagged little putt around downtown, we topped out at about 16 mph and successfully dodged each pothole that came our way. The scooter was surprisingly well-balanced, and we gained confidence as we rolled along.

We saw only one other person riding: a young, muscular man on his way to work at Union Pacific who seemed far too busy for an impromptu race.

Just as you would while riding a bike, you should stop if you want to check the map on your phone to know where you’re going or whether it’s allowable to travel there on a scooter. The only screen on the scooter is a small display showing your speed.

Once you’re done, you simply stop and park it either in a bike rack or near the curb, take a photo of your parking job with the app, then get your electronic receipt and walk away. There’s no need to return it to a designated parking zone.

We parked ours on the sidewalk in front of the World-Herald Building.

Our 11-minute, 0.7-mile ride cost $4.19, including the $1 it cost upfront to activate the scooter. So it won’t save you much money over an Uber, but it was a much more enjoyable ride, and we didn’t have to talk to strangers.

Ultimately, Lime scooters won’t make Omaha feel like Venice Beach, nor will they truly transform how people can navigate the city. Omaha is still Omaha, only now it has scooters.

Also noticed on my drive through Benson this morning: How to park a scooter, also at 60th & Maple, but not blocking a walkway or sidewalk ramp like in my previous pic pic.twitter.com/W5fFXZtJBc

— Christopher Burbach (@CHRISBURBACH) May 15, 2019

— Graham Archer (@garcher84) May 15, 2019

Noticed on my drive through Benson this morning: How NOT to park a scooter. It’s at 60th and Maple in Benson. pic.twitter.com/SSJdqLtcU5

— Christopher Burbach (@CHRISBURBACH) May 15, 2019

Scooters are in Omaha y’all pic.twitter.com/cKKvuGrXM8

— Matt Birkel (@Birkelstock) May 15, 2019

Scooters on the loose in Omaha. pic.twitter.com/3NQDOUcC57

— Jason Buzzell (@buzzilinear) May 15, 2019

5cc9e6745fcee.preview - Electric scooters have made it to Omaha. So we rode one - Omaha World-Herald


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