“Mopeds are the natural next step for us as the company grows,” said Sean Arroyo, who is leading the moped launch at Lime. “This allows riders to choose the mode that works for them, … and it gives the city access to more transportation options.”
The mopeds would not be the first in the District’s growing app-based transportation market. New York-based start-up Revel brought electric mopeds to the city in August 2019, becoming the first and only operator of the two-wheel devices for ride-sharing in the city.
Moped services have proved popular in D.C. and in cities across the United States. Users say they are a convenient option for getting around and are an appealing alternative to ride-hailing and personal car use for short-distance trips. Revel has said its average customer trip is about four miles.
Lime, which has e-scooter or e-bike operations, or both, in 130 cities across the world, said its mopeds answer to the growing demand for short trips in the city. While its users take e-scooter and e-bikes for “last mile” trips, Lime officials hope they will use mopeds for trips up to five miles.
The Lime mopeds are designed to travel at a maximum speed of 28 mph and have a range of up to 87 miles on a single charge.
“Adding mopeds, coupling that with bikes and scooters, allows riders to choose a single platform to get them from point to point and not be restricted as to where they want to go around the city,” Arroyo said.
Under the D.C. program, moped operators are required to register their mopeds with the Department of Motor Vehicles and ensure users wear helmets. City law requires users to wear helmets and have a driver’s license. Mopeds are not allowed on sidewalks.
In the District and most states, moped operators are required to follow the same traffic rules as other motor vehicle operators. A spokeswoman for the District Department of Transportation, which oversees the private micromobility services, confirmed the agency is in talks with Lime about its intention to seek a moped permit.
City transportation officials have embraced the services, saying the mopeds, which are electric, can be part of the solution to reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions and can create more sustainable options for people moving throughout the city.
Similar to Revel, Lime will require drivers to be 21 or older, have a driver’s license and pass a driving background check before they can rent a moped. A Lime spokesman said pricing information will be released closer to the launch but will be competitive. Revel charges $1 to start a ride, plus 35 cents per minute.
Lime said that before each trip, drivers will be required to take a photograph of themselves wearing a helmet. The mopeds will be equipped with a sensor in each helmet case to identify whether a rider has removed the helmet during use.
Lime said it also has partnered with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to create a safety course users will be required to take and a test that they will need to pass to ride. The company said it will offer free 45-minute, in-person lessons to riders to promote safe riding.
The company said it “will take strict enforcement measures for repeat safety violators, including removal from the platform, to avoid putting themselves and other road users at risk.”