Thanks to the rapid expansion of Bird and Lime, you can find electric scooters on the sidewalk of many cities across America. It’s not as widely known, but Lyft also has a scooter and e-bike program of its own.
Lyft scooters and bikes are very similar to Bird and Lime: You find an available bike or scooter, point your smartphone at a barcode on the handlebars, and you’re off. Around $1 to unlock and $0.20 – $0.39 for every minute of use.
So how does Lyft Scooter stack up to Bird and Lime? I rented a Lyft Scooter in Santa Monica and found that Lyft scooters might be able to give Bird and Lime a run for their money.
What are Lyft Scooters and Bikes?
In some cities, Lyft offers electronic scooter and bike rentals. Lyft users can walk up to scooters and bikes placed at public locations around cities.
To rent a scooter or bike, open the Lyft app and tap the scooter icon to locate nearby rentals, then approach the scooter and scan the barcode on the handlebars to begin the rental.
How Much Do Lyft Scooters and Bikes Cost to Rent?
Lyft scooters cost $1 to unlock and $0.20 – $0.39 per minute, depending on your city.
Lyft bikes cost anywhere from $1 to $3 to unlock, with a per minute rate similar to scooters.
The maximum rental time for a rental is 12 hours. There is a $25 fee if you hold the scooter or bike longer than 12 hours, and a $1200 fee if you lose or steal it.
The Lyft Pink subscription includes free and discounted scooter & bike rentals.
Promo code ‘LYFTRSD‘ will give you a discount on your first ride!
Where are Lyft Scooters Available?
Lyft scooter is currently available in these cities:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- Santa Monica
- Washington, D.C.
Visit Lyft.com/scooters to see the most up-to-date list of available cities.
To see if Lyft Scooter is available in your city, open the Lyft app and look for the scooter icon on the home screen of the app.
Lyft Bike Cities
You can rent a Lyft e-bike in these cities:
- Bay Area
- Metro DC
- Santa Monica
Visit Lyft.com/bikes for the latest list of cities
Lyft Partners with Other E-Bike Operators
In some cities, Lyft is the operator of an existing e-bike program. For example, in NYC Lyft is the operator of the Citi Bike program. In Metro DC, Lyft is the operator of the Capital Bikeshare program.
The partnerships mean that you can use other existing methods to rent the bikes, or use the Lyft app.
Requirements and Rules for Lyft Rentals
- You must be 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license
- You must begin and end your ride in the designated service area outlined in the Lyft app. There is a fee if you end the ride outside of the service area
- The scooters only operate during service hours
- Follow traffic laws
- Don’t ride with a second rider on the scooter
- When you drop off the scooter, don’t block sidewalks or driveways
- There is a $100 pick-up fee if you leave the scooter in an unreachable area such as behind a locked gate or on inaccessible private property
- See the full list of rules on the Lyft Scooter terms of service
Learn about other e-scooter and bike rentals
How to Use a Lyft Scooter or Bike
Lyft scooters and bikes are easy to use. There are essentially only 4 steps to ride a one:
- Find a scooter or bike inside the service area
- Scan the barcode to activate it
- Park in a safe area and end the ride
1. Find a Lyft scooter or bike inside the service area
Start by toggling the Scooter mode, a button on the home screen of the Lyft app. The map will then display any nearby scooters and enable features that can only be used in the scooter mode of the app.
Lyft only allows scooters to be picked up and dropped off within a service area that is outlined inside the Lyft app. You can leave the service area, but you must return to the service area to drop off the scooter.
2. Scan the scooter barcode to activate the scooter
Any scooter that shows up on the map of the Lyft app is available to use. Walk up to the scooter and tap the Scan button inside the Lyft app. Scan your driver’s license bar code to confirm you’re 18. Then point your phone camera at the QR code on the handlebars of the scooter. When you’re ready to start riding, tap the Begin Ride button.
3. Riding a Lyft scooter
Lyft scooters are similar to other modern electric scooters Bird and Lime. They are simple to operate and don’t have many features; Only a throttle, brake, and kickstand.
- Point the scooter in a safe direction
- Kick start twice to get the scooter moving, then press the throttle on the right handlebar to speed up
- Squeeze the brake on the left to slow down
Lyft uses similar scooters and Bird and Lime. The top speed is around 15 mph and the range is up to 15 miles.
4. Park the scooter and end the ride
When your ride is over, find a good public location to park the scooter, then kick down the kick stand. Don’t block sidewalks, ramps, or driveways with the scooter. Most users place them near bike racks, near trees, or lampposts that are away from the main flow of a sidewalk. Never park the scooter on private property.
After you park the scooter, tap End Ride in the Lyft app. You may also be instructed to take a photo of the scooter to show Lyft the condition and location of the scooter when you left it.
Lyft May Provide Free Helmets for Renters
Lyft recommends that all scooters riders wear a helmet, and in some areas wearing a helmet is required by law. In Los Angeles and Denver, you can pick up a free helmet from Lyft at special Lyft Hub locations. Keep an eye on Lyft.com to see if they provide free helmets in new markets, or if they continue to provide free helmets in existing markets.
Lyft Scooter vs. Bird vs. Lime
Lyft is not the first major company to release smartphone-enabled electric scooters. Bird and Lime are the biggest names in the electric scooter industry. Here’s how they compare.
|Bird||Lime||Uber (Jump) Scooter||Lyft Scooter|
|Cost||$1 to unlock, $0.15 - $0.39 per minute||$1 to unlock, $0.15 - $0.36 per minute||$1 to unlock, $0.15 - $0.30 per minute||$1 to unlock, $0.20 - $0.39 per minute|
|Minimum Age||18 with driver's license||18 with driver's license||18 with driver's license||18 with driver's license|
|Availability||Bird locations||Lime locations||Uber Jump locations||Lyft Scooter locations|
Are Lyft Scooters Better than Bird or Lime?
Lyft, Bird, and Lime all offer a nearly identical service. The cost is similar, the scooters are similar, and the apps all function in essentially the same way. So why might you use one service over the other? For most users, the choice will come down to availability. The winner will be the scooter that is closest.
One advantage Lyft has over the other scooter services is that millions of people already use Lyft, so existing Lyft users won’t have to download an extra app to get started. When I used a Lyft scooter, I didn’t have to create a new account and enter payment info. All I did was tap a few buttons and I was on my way. If Lyft expands the scooter service to more areas of my city, I’ll have less reason to use Bird or Lime because I’m mostly in the habit of using the Lyft app.
Some users might like is that Lyft uses employees to charge the scooters rather than independent contractors. On-demand services catch a lot of criticism for inappropriately classifying workers independent contractors, so by using actual employees, Lyft might avoid some criticism it has received in the past. Some people might be comforted to know that lyft scooter chargers receive all the protections and benefits that a full-fledged employee is entitled to.
More Essential Reading on Lyft
- How Much Does Lyft Cost?
- The Differences Between the Uber Ride Types
- How Existing Lyft Users Can Save on Rides