CLEVELAND — With a wintry blast of weather headed our way, e-scooters may not be the best way to get around. This is the first winter in Cleveland for Bird, Spin, Lime, and VeoRide – the four companies that received permits to operate in the city.
When the scooters got here, the weather was great. But will they stay now that the weather is taking a turn for the worst? Well that really depends on the company and the conditions.
VeoRide says the company is watching the storm progress and plans to remove some of its fleet today and tomorrow to prepare for the storm. However, the company will continue to operate during the winter weeks that are more mild and not receiving precipitation.
Lime says they are pulling scooters off the streets of Cleveland in anticipation of storms and they will return once the weather has cleared up. Since this is the first year in Cleveland for Lime, they’re planning to keep a fleet of scooters in place all winter to monitor how they’re being used during winter months.
A Bird spokesperson issued the following statement:
"Bird is extremely committed to the safety of our riders, and so we take into account the weather conditions of each city where Bird is available. We have a team dedicated to closely monitoring all conditions, and they adjust our operations accordingly. This includes pausing our service when weather does not permit safe riding, and can sometimes lead to removing Birds from the road during periods of inclement weather caused by snow storms or hurricanes."
Spin says they have staff closely monitoring the weather to ensure the company isn’t deploying scooters during inclement weather conditions. Via email, a company spokesperson said, “our scooters will be collected well in advance of the winter storm expected.”
Spin also says it’ll continue to operate throughout the winter months per the city’s request.
We reached out to the representatives in city hall to help better understand what the city expects of vendors during heavy snowfall and to find out why they requested Spin continue operations during Winter.
They responded Monday afternoon with the following statement:
"The City of Cleveland urges all road users, including scooter riders, to be aware of potentially dangerous winter road conditions, including snow, ice and reduced visibility. During inclement winter weather events, scooter companies may choose to lock down their scooter systems and/or pull the devices into the warehouse until conditions improve. Although the City's currently issued permits require a minimum fleet size of 100 devices per company, permittees may contact the City if they desire an exception over the winter. We encourage scooter operators and community members to share their winter experiences with the City to inform current shared mobility regulations and future permitting terms. Residents may submit comments online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLEdockless."
Bottom line, if you find scooters are available during winter months, be extra careful. Obviously, riding a scooter in snowy or icy conditions makes them more dangerous. And e-scooter companies aren’t liable for injuries or damage caused while you’re using them.