See that guy up there? Where is he riding a Lime scooter? He's on the sidewalk, which is not only rude, but will now be officially discouraged by the company thanks to new technology.
Beginning with San José, Lime is rolling out a new sidewalk detection feature. By collecting accelerometer and speed data, Lime's statistical model will analyze vibrations to detect the surface on which an e-scooter is being ridden. Lime touts 95 percent accuracy for its model and says it's the first of its kind.
A gentle nudge — Should a user spend more than 50 percent of their ride on sidewalks, they'll receive a push notification and email reminding them to ride on the street. No measures have been announced for repeat offenders, so we'll see if there's any recourse other than a mildly annoying message.
"Lime has been working on sidewalk riding detection since hearing concerns from some city and community partners, and we believe we may have finally cracked the code on this issue and developed a technology that is effective, safe and scalable,” EV Ellington, Lime’s Northern California general manager, said in a statement.
Next steps — Lime plans to use its findings to suggest infrastructure changes to cities. In a recent Lime study, 52.2 percent of riders said they prefer to use a protected bike lane. I still view Lime as a scourge that needs to be stomped out, but if it can lead to more lanes that benefit cyclists, at least some good has come from it.