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Lime's new sidewalk detection technology enables the company to discern with up to 95 percent accuracy when a rider is riding on a sidewalk instead of the street.
Lime's new sidewalk detection technology enables the company to discern with up to 95 percent accuracy when a rider is riding on a sidewalk instead of the street.
( Source: Lime)

Micromobility Lime introduces Sidewalk Detection to improve e-scooter safety

| Author / Editor: Erika Granath / Erika Granath

Electric scooters have long been igniting safety concerns and restricting laws—loud complaints at the frequent sight of these vehicles speeding down sidewalks. With this in mind, the e-scooter company Lime no debuts an advanced sidewalk detection technology.

Many cities and communities have expressed their concerns about e-scooters speeding ahead on sidewalks, meant for-stating the obvious-people to safely stroll or run on.

Taking these concerns seriously, Lime's been working on sidewalk riding detection for over a year now. Last month, the result of this work saw the light of day as Lime and the City of San José rolled out a first-of-its-kind technology to detect and reduce e-scooter sidewalk riding. The pilot program is currently being implemented throughout downtown San José.

In a press release at the time of the announcement, Nick Shapiro, Lime's Head of Trust and Safety, said: "We know that micromobility can only be successful if riders and communities feel safe, and at Lime, we're dedicated to advancing safety for all."

Technically speaking

In the future, at the end of a ride, an image outlining when and where the sidewalk riding occurred may be sent to every Lime rider, along with an email containing the same information.
In the future, at the end of a ride, an image outlining when and where the sidewalk riding occurred may be sent to every Lime rider, along with an email containing the same information.
(Source: Lime)

Through the new pilot program, Lime will collect accelerometer and speed data for every ride in downtown San José. From this data, the company will be able to detect the vibration of the underlying riding surface (e.g., a road or a sidewalk) using a self-designed sophisticated statistical model (AI). The technology enables Lime to discern with up to 95 percent accuracy when a rider is riding on a sidewalk instead of the street.

If a trip has been completed where more than 50 percent of the ride was detected to occur on a sidewalk, the user will receive a push notification from the Lime app. In the future, an image outlining when and where the sidewalk riding occurred may be sent to the rider at the end of a ride. The user will also receive an email containing the same information.

EV Ellington, Lime's Northern California General Manager, said: "We are excited to leverage the data we collect to better understand when and where people are riding on sidewalks. Once we have that data in hand, we can share it with the City of San José and work on potential infrastructure improvements, such as protected bike lanes, to make riders and pedestrians feel safe."

Why detecting e-scooters riding on sidewalks matters

Theoretically, e-scooters shouldn't be ridden on sidewalks, particularly at high speeds, since they could pose a risk to pedestrians. However, in reality, e-scooters are a common sight on sidewalks in many major cities today as that's where riders most easily avoid the street potholes, double-parked cars, and—worst of all—getting "doored" by motorists getting into or leaving their cars. Bike lanes help, but many cities don't have them, according to a Sonoma State University study. In a study made by Lime earlier this year, 52 percent of their users ranked a protected bike lane as their number one choice for riding.

E-scooters riding on sidewalks have caused a heated debate over the past years, and many cities have gone so far as to ban e-scooters altogether, Paris being just one example.

EV Ellington: "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,"

San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, said: "This innovative approach (referring to Lime's sidewalk detection pilot) enhances San José's micromobility and pushes the entire industry to make it safer for scooters and pedestrians to equitably share our streets."

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