How electric scooters work

Author profile picture

Taylor Covington

Content Researcher

As a qualitative researcher for The Zebra, Taylor collected, organized, and analyzed data to shine a light on trends in the insurance industry and be…

How do I start a Lime or Bird scooter?

The signup process for the new line of electric scooters (Lime, or Bird, and more recently Spin) is advertised as simple and easy; download, register and go. And it can be as simple as that, but if it's your first time on an electric scooter, you can waste a lot of time on the sidewalk going through the boring stuff. 

In addition to our tips, we've created a step-by-step instruction infographic so all those riders out there (brand new beginners or old-time pros) can get to zooming faster and easier.

Pro tips for using an electric scooter

  1. If this is your first time using a Lime or Bird Scooter, consider doing the signup process before riding. If not, be sure to have your credit card and ID at the ready. The app will scan your ID to confirm you’re over 18.
  2. Despite some confusion, the user agreement states scooters must be driven in the road, preferably in a bike lane. You can receive a ticket for driving a scooter in an unapproved area — like the sidewalk — and riding without a helmet. You can also get a citation for driving an electric scooter while drunk.
  3. On the same screen where you can scan the QR code, you can also turn the front headlight on or off.
  4. The wheels could lock up if you attempt to immediately start riding, especially while the app screen is loading. The scooter may take up to 30 seconds to chirp into action.
  5. The scooter is capable of carrying only one person at a time because the weight limit is 200 pounds.
  6. You must hold down the switch to maintain a constant speed, and depending on whether you're riding a segway-partnered scooter, either squeeze down to brake or twist down the left switch.
  7. Don’t lock your knees when going over potholes or bumps. If your city does have bike lanes, be sure to obey all stop signs, traffic lights, and posted rules of the road.

If you're looking for more tips for riding an electric scooter, check out this article that gives an in-depth look into the new world of scooter-sharing: 

Lime vs Bird Scooters: How Do They Work?