CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There soon could be a scooter-sharing showdown in Charlotte.
On Tuesday, Lime unveiled its electric scooter-sharing program in South End, making Charlotte just the third city on the East Coast to welcome the cheap and easy transportation service.
There was just one problem. Reportedly, the City of Charlotte never approved the program. Just one day after Lime put the bikes on city sidewalks for use, the Charlotte Observer reported they must be gone by Friday.
Charlotte City Councilman Tariq Scott Bakhari took to Facebook this week, saying he supportive of the “very cool scooters,” but pointed out that Lime didn’t follow the proper protocol before introducing the program.
“Hey LimeBike, the next time you rally our city to send hundreds of template emails jamming up my city account to express support, why not tell them the whole story?
“Like how you didn’t follow the pilot permit protocol and decided to ask for forgiveness rather than permission (like you did in several other cities and have been fined because of)”
When the program was debuted, Lime did lay out a few ground rules for safety, but according to Bakhari's Facebook page, they weren't fully approved for city use. Lime said all riders must be at least 18 years old, helmets are highly recommended, and you must obey all local traffic laws.
Despite the stern talk from city leaders, you can’t miss the bright green scooters spread out across Charlotte.
“LimeBike came by and asked if we were open to having these scooters here, and we said, ‘Yes absolutely,’” said Sarah Hamer, owner of Escape Tactic. “It’s on our property, and LimeBike seems to take really good care of their equipment. So we were thrilled.”
The city released a statement saying, “Moving forward, the city of Charlotte is communicating with scooter-sharing companies to evaluate options and establish safety guidelines.”