The rapid expansion of micromobility services in recent years has provided residents of many urban areas with a convenient means to get around. The problem, however, is that the vast majority of these micromobility service providers have so far failed to cater to people with disabilities. Now that may soon change, thanks to Lime, the company whose electric scooter and bike rentals you’re probably quite familiar with if you live in a city.
In an effort to make its micromobility services more inclusive, the firm has recently designed seven adaptive vehicles that can be of use to serve a broader segment of the population. One of the designs, for example, involves a smart attachment that people using a manual wheelchair could soon rent to transform their wheelchairs into a powered vehicle.
“We realized that disabilities come in all different shapes and sizes,” said Sam Sadle, Lime’s head of government relations for North America. “So we have a three-wheeled, sit-down device that is for somebody who has challenges balancing. We’ve got a two-wheeled sit-down device that is for somebody who can’t stand for a long amount of time, so it gives them a place to sit down the rest of their journey.”
Another design consists of a vehicle with two seats for blind people to use together with a guide. Another scooter is seated and electric; another looks like a typical standing scooter but has an extra wheel to make it more stable. The company has even designed a tricycle that has a shopping basket attached to it, as well as a handcycle that can be controlled without pedaling.
In New York City, where the first pilots are expected to kick off soon, Lime has been meeting with organizations like The Center for Independence of the Disabled, United Spinal Association, and National Federation of the Blind of New York to ensure that the designs are as accessible as possible.