Bird zips past Lime as top-rated app

Used bikes and cars are the new gold, China’s moped-riding food couriers get some relief, and urbanism’s latest buzz term is "six-foot cities."

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small electric vehicles like bikes and scooters. The reason you’re reading this email is that you signed up on our website or came to one of our events.

If you’re not a subscriber and you want to keep getting the latest news and analysis from inside the micromobility movement delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday, sign up here for free. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click that link.

Thank you for reading.


Our next guest is…

Transit is in trouble. Not only do bus and train systems need to bring back commuters to avoid financial ruin, they need to do so in a way that doesn’t put their health at risk. The challenge—how to make mass transit socially distanced—seems impossible on its face. Luckily, solving such imponderables is Rachel Haot’s speciality.

As the Executive Director of the public-private Transit Innovation Partnership, Haot has been procuring cutting-edge digital tools to help solve some of New York’s most intractable public transportation problems for years. On September 24, she will join us for a far-reaching livestream Q&A to discuss how global cities can use new technologies to bring riders back to public transit safely and efficiently.

Become a member—free for 30 days—to get access to this and all other virtual events.

Learn more


Bird overtakes Lime as top-rated scooter app

Bird has narrowly overtaken Lime as the top-rated scooter app in the world.

In August, Bird’s user rating sat at 4.85/5, which for the first time ever in our tracking, was slightly higher than Lime’s score, 4.84/5. Bird achieved this coup without actually improving its rating from July. Instead, Lime’s performance dropped a bit amid a wave of issues related to their day pass and payment system, while Bird’s stayed the same.

Read full report

Prabin Joel Jones is the VP of IT & Enabling Tech at BOND Mobility, a premium speed e-bike sharing operator based in Zurich.


Landscape 2.2

The latest version of the Micromobility Landscape, our ongoing effort to catalogue and classify every company in the lightweight electric vehicle space, has arrived.

This month’s edition includes 15% more firms as well as a brand-new section devoted to subscription services, which have been exploding as micromobility riders seek out alternatives to high-turnover shared devices.

View the full report and submit your company to be added next 👇

View report


What you need to know this week

  • Another study confirms shared micromobility’s ascendance on the eve of the pandemic. According to a new report by NABSA, North American riders took 157 million trips across 194,000 shared scooters and bikes in 2019. Thirty-six percent of those journeys replaced a car trip, offsetting 65 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

  • Much of that demand has shifted to owned micromobility since the pandemic hit. Several e-bike and e-motorcycle makers are on track to triple their sales this year, and Halfords, the UK’s largest brick-and-mortar cycling retailer, is reporting a 230% increase in e-bike and e-scooter sales.

  • An interesting new study aims to quantify the amount of CO2 that is emitted by cycling and walking in the form of food production required to support the physical activity. (We’d be very keen to see the math for e-bikes.) “The GHG emissions associated with food intake required to fuel a kilometre of walking range between 0.05 kgCO2e/km in the least economically developed countries to 0.26 kgCO2e/km in the most economically developed countries. Emissions for cycling are approximately half those of walking.”

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  • The Pro’s Closet, an online marketplace for preowned bikes, raised $12 million in Series A round led by led by Foundry Group and Edison Partners. Relatedly, used-car prices in the US crept up 5.4% in August, the biggest monthly increase since March 1969. This rising demand for old cars is tightly correlated to growing inflation. “It contributed 40% to the core inflation index, which strips out items that tend to be volatile in price, like food and energy.”

  • HumanForest, a dockless, ad-supported e-bike platform based in London, raised $2.3 million in funding. In exchange for viewing ads in the app, users get 20 minutes of free ride time per day.

  • In a new study commissioned by Nuro, Steer Group forecasts that, between 2025 and 2035, last-mile AV delivery services will generate $4.1 trillion in economic activity, prevent 348,000 road injuries, and save 407 million tons of CO2 emissions.

  • On that note, Tortoise just teased a teleoperated delivery vehicle that is capable of carrying over 100 lbs of goods in modular containers.

ImageJuiced HyperScrambler 2
  • While we’re talking long-distance performance, France’s Red Electric debuted an electric moped with over 186 miles of range.

  • Former Tesla president and Lyft COO Jon McNeill is joining Tier as the head of a new advisory board. Also, York selected Tier for its first scooter trial. The Berlin-based operator is betting big on Britain and this pilot appears to be its first in the country.

  • Shared micromobility platform Hopr has launched a digital storefront for sales and rentals.

  • Bird and Lime have added 3.9 million and 2.6 million new users since May, respectively. While the two leading scooter startups are now seeing more app downloads per week than they just before the pandemic began, they gained fewer new users this summer than last.

Lime & Bird app downloads
  • Just a few days after debuting a new fleet of e-bikes, Portland’s bike-share system suspended service due to hazardous air quality caused by the Oregon wildfires.

  • Yulu has deployed light e-mopeds in Mumbai.

  • Google’s Waze is laying off 5% of its staff and shuttering its offices in APAC and LATAM.

  • Tarform’s new Luna is a high-tech e-motorcycle for people who cringe at choppers and leather jackets.

  • Spin is offering scooter passes, with one-hour, two-hour, and full-day rental options.

  • In a new report, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association explores six challenges of micromobility—oversight, funding, data collection, enforcement, infrastructure, and education—and the role State Highway Safety Offices can play to help address them.

Micromobility Fatalities
  • The British city of Leeds is offering residents free e-bikes for two weeks to get them out of cars.

  • Metz Mecatech, German maker of e-bike and e-scooter motors, is shutting down.

  • Former NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is calling on urban planners to envision “six-foot cities” for the age of social distancing.

  • Imagine going 34 mph on an electric skateboard with almost no fear of falling. With the right suspension, Portugal’s Hunter Board believes it’s possible.

  • After Boris Johnson was photographed riding a Lime scooter last week, we asked our community if they could think of any other prominent world leaders who had been seen using a micromobility device lately. Then, a few hours later, this happened. Shoutout to to Henri Moissinac and Martin Lefrancq for tagging us.


Pod people

“I’d been searching for how to make a future happen where all micromobility vehicles talk to each other. I always thought this was about MDS but GBFS is where the action is.”

Find out why Oliver Bruce is so worked up about an arcane data standard on a new episode of the podcast, featuring Sam Herr, Executive Director of NABSA, and Heidi Guenin, Shared Mobility Product Manager at Mobility Data.

Listen here


Jobs to be done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post new career openings in hopes of connecting our readers with professional opportunities in the burgeoning world of new mobility. Find out who’s hiring below and sign up for the newsletter to view fresh listings every week.

Last call: How micromobility is reshaping cities

Join Horace Dediu’s latest virtual keynote, happening today.

Horace Dediu is back with his first SOTU address of the coronavirus era and it is happening today at 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern.

Informed by months of research, this timely virtual event will examine the current state of urban transport in-depth and make the case for rational optimism in the face of the unprecedented global disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join us later today as Horace illuminates the renewed promise of micromobility and defines emerging challenges to adoption, as only he can.

Tickets are $20. Learn more about the event and register below.

Join keynote


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Is this the biggest world leader to ride a scooter yet?

Used cars are actually appreciating, Dallas destroys its (very successful) scooter pilot, and WFH may not last forever.

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small electric vehicles like bikes and scooters. The reason you’re reading this email is that you signed up on our website or came to one of our events.

If you’re not a subscriber and you want to keep getting the latest news and analysis from inside the micromobility movement delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday, sign up here for free. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click that link.

Thank you for reading.


California almost ended micromobility last week. How? By nearly passing a bill that prohibits operators from using liability waivers, without which they would basically be uninsurable. So bullet dodged, right? Not exactly. Many jurisdictions are now attempting similar bans. The consequences for micromobility could be massive.

At 1PM CT on Sept. 17, join Christensen Group’s Sharing Economy Leader, Brandon Schuh, along with John Wackman, partner at Nilan Johnson law firm, to find out how operators and manufacturers can stay atop these evolving standards—and get guidance on when to challenge them.

Register here.


Sneak peek

Horace Dediu’s first major SOTU address of the coronavirus era is coming up in two days. The disruptive-innovation analyst has been busy assembling all-new analysis and charts, like the one above, which he will present for the first time ever on Thursday at 9AM PT / 12PM ET.

It’s going to an all-timer, an instant classic, with thundering narrative arcs backed up with detailed data about how the pandemic is reshaping cities and micromobility.

We hope you’ll join us for this incredible virtual event. Tickets are $20, and you can register below.

Register for SOTU


Calling all transport planners

Good news: Cities are expanding bike lanes to get more people cycling.

Bad news: Very little data exists about how much is being added or where.

Solution: Alessandro Zenati is building a global hub to crowdsource local bike lane data. Help us make it great by contributing your city’s data today.

Share bike lane data


What you need to know this week

  • Electric bike pioneer Mike Radenbaugh was interviewed on the latest episode of How I Built This. Of note, his company, Rad Power Bikes, has 25% market share in the US, did $100 million in sales in 2019, and is on track for 300% growth this year. And thanks to the pandemic, the company has more bikes on order right now than it has sold in its entire five-year history.

  • Amsterdam-based Swapfiets launched a monthly subscription service for bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters in Paris yesterday. If you’re wondering why the subscription space is heating up so much right now, according to new research by Unagi, one-third of consumers say they would prefer leasing a scooter to owning or renting one.

  • So far, 12 companies have had their e-scooters approved for use in the UK, Bird, Bolt, Dott, Ginger, Helbiz, Lime, Link, Spin, Tier, Voi, Wind, and Zipp, and 12 more have applied.

  • Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently became probably the most prominent world leader to be seen riding an electric scooter yet. Hit us on Twitter if you know of a photo of any politician more well-known than Johnson riding one.

  • One more thing about the UK: Voi is carrying out an e-scooter trial in the West Midlands area, which chief executive Fredrik Hjelm calls “the biggest [contract] we have seen globally.” The program could eventually see 10,000 vehicles deployed in Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton.

  • Shared micromobility startups are always talking about when they expect to break even. Invers has a good roundup of profitability predictions from companies like Lime, Tier, Voi, and more for you to keep track of them.

  • According to Northwestern professor Hyejin Youn, white-collar workers will have to go back to the office eventually because working near other people is key to innovation.

  • Dallas, one of the biggest cities for shared scooters in the US in terms of ridership and number of vehicles, killed its dockless program virtually overnight due to public safety concerns. Our friend Reilly Brennan sums it up best: “Shared micromobility is a big business, right up until a city decides it’s not.”

  • Consumers are snapping up used cars so they can avoid trains, buses, and Ubers during the coronavirus pandemic. “‘Used cars are supposed to depreciate, but I’d look up the book value of a car on the lot and see it was higher than at the beginning of the month,’ said Adam Silverleib, president of Silko Honda in Raynham, Mass. “I’ve never seen that before.”

  • Some are afraid that putting more cheap old cars on the road will be bad for air quality and respiratory health.

  • In a rare example of a Western company providing micromobility services for the Chinese market, Czech automaker Skoda is offering moped subscriptions in Beijing.

  • Canyon showcased an enclosed bike-car hybrid concept that can go up to 37 mph.

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  • Lime scooters are back in Brazil and Chile with new sanitation precautions. Interestingly, Lime left Brazil before the coronavirus outbreak even started, back in January, because the country was unprofitable. The company’s return suggests the market has fundamentally changed.

  • Asphalt roads make air pollution worse in summer, according to new research.

  • Bosch is rolling out a charging network for e-bikes in a resort area of the Swiss Alps, with the hope of eventually deploying the stations in urban settings too.

  • Zoba co-founder Joseph Brennan makes the case for how Uber-style dynamic pricing could work in shared micromobility.

  • BMW wowed the world with new photos of a futuristic electric motorcycle concept.

  • Ridership for Las Vegas’s bike-share program has doubled since the pandemic hit. But that’s not all. While it’s hard to believe, apparently the system’s e-bikes were averaging 1,000 rides a day (!) in May.

  • As school restarts, Paris is reimbursing riders under the age of 18 for transit passes.

  • A new study finds that newly implemented public bike-share programs in North America have not led to an increase in cyclist fatalities.

  • Google Maps will soon allow people in Austin to pay for parking directly in the app using Google Pay.

  • Dear god, there’s a highway interchange in Houston that’s the same size as Siena, Italy.


Pod people

1556682162605.png

On a new episode of the podcast, Oliver Bruce talks to Raoul Stöckle, CEO of Bond, about what riders want at the high-end of the micromobility market.

Listen here


Jobs to be done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post new career openings in hopes of connecting our readers with professional opportunities in the burgeoning world of new mobility. Find out who’s hiring below and sign up for the newsletter to view fresh listings every week.


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Micromobility trips surge 60% in one year

Vin Diesel gets fast and furious on a moped, shared startups avert ban in California, and the drive-thru enters a new golden age.

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small electric vehicles like bikes and scooters. The reason you’re reading this email is that you signed up on our website or came to one of our events.

If you’re not a subscriber and you want to keep getting the latest news and analysis from inside the micromobility movement delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday, sign up here for free. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click that link.

Thank you for reading.


The Helium Network helps micromobility companies solve connectivity and tracking challenges without expensive cellular plans—connecting low-bandwidth devices like bikes, scooters, and skateboards over long ranges and optimized for extended battery life. With blockchain-based technology and a pay-for-usage model, companies can send more data than before, highlighting popular routes, and staying compliant in the cities they operate.

Visit Helium for Business and email sales@helium.com to learn how Helium can solve connectivity for your company.


Up next…

We admit it: When the coronavirus outbreak first hit, even we had our doubts if micromobility would make it. The two things we knew for sure in the early days of the pandemic were that being near a lot of people and going to a lot of places put you at a higher risk of getting sick. This was bad news for any industry that exists to move people around in dense urban areas.

But then things changed. 

Today it is impossible to talk about the future of cities without talking about clean, socially distanced micromobility. A massive recovery is imminent. And the multi-billion-dollar question on everyone’s mind is, what comes next?

On that, Horace Dediu has a few ideas.

The renowned Apple and mobility analyst has been busy prepping an all-new keynote about how the pandemic is reshaping the micromobility market and bending the adoption curve in unexpected ways. On September 10 at 9AM PT / 12PM ET, Horace will share his analysis virtually in what we believe will be a breakthrough moment for the industry.

Learn more about the keynote and how to get tickets below.

Register here


What you need to know this week

  • Between 2018 and 2019, the total number of shared micromobility trips in the US shot up from 84 million to 136 million, according to a new report from NACTO. Scooters accounted for the vast majority of the new trips, more than doubling in usage, while bike ridership grew only 10%. The question is, how long will it take the industry to return to its pre-COVID peak?

    • Another interesting stat: The NACTO numbers show that 45% of micromobility trips replaced a car trip last year.

  • Relatedly, a new study finds that over 29,600 e-scooter riders were treated in US emergency rooms in 2019. Going by those NACTO numbers, that means .03% of scooter trips resulted in an ER visit.

  • Following outcry from both lobbyists and urbanists, the California state legislature has amended AB 1286, a bill that would have effectively killed shared micromobility by prohibiting companies that rent scooters and bikes from using liability waivers.

  • Despite the fact that traffic is down due to travel restrictions, US road deaths were actually up in the first six months of 2020.

  • Bird is shutting down Scoot in Barcelona and laying off 50 employees.

  • The idea for the electric bike has been around since at least the 1880s.

  • Here’s why swappable batteries are a must 👇

  • After suspending local service in the wake of two rider fatalities in July, Revel has resumed dockless moped rentals in New York City. The company also launched in San Francisco this week.

  • A new study of Beijing’s transportation ecosystem suggests that having more micromobility options around actually boosts transit ridership: “[W]e find that subway lines with higher [dockless] bike-sharing intensity showed an 8% larger growth rate in subway ridership compared to ones with lower intensity.”

  • Fast-casual restaurants that once scorned drive-thru lanes like Shake Shack and Chipotle are getting car-friendly makeovers to make up for lost revenue from indoor dining.

  • Vice: “For the last 70 years, American transportation planners have been using the same model to decide what to build. There’s just one problem: it’s often wrong.”

  • Zoba illustrates how one-way trips lead to fleet imbalances for micromobility operators.

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  • As school restarts, Bird is offering US educators one hour of free scooter rides per day.

  • Lime is the latest scooter operator to arrive in the UK. The California-based startup began its first pilot in the city of Milton Keynes this week.

  • The financial future of private bus companies, which take 10 million US children to school every day, is in jeopardy due to the pandemic.

  • Three friend have completed the first-known trip across America on an electric scooter. The journey, which was sponsored by Segway, was made using the Ninebot KickScooter MAX.

  • The Guardian: “Last year, the International Energy Agency made a finding that stunned even its own researchers. SUVs were the 2nd largest cause of the global rise in CO2 emissions over the past decade, eclipsing all shipping, aviation, heavy industry and even trucks.”

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  • In the US, the number of Amazon delivery stations, small logistics centers in cities where drivers pick up packages, has surged 71% since March.

  • Bird scooter riders in Tel Aviv have clocked 5.5 million trips in the last two years.

  • New hiring suggests Bond Mobility may be expanding e-bike service to Paris and Hamburg.

  • Last week we mentioned, but did not link to, an espionage-themed Yadea ad in which Vin Diesel, star of the Fast and Furious franchise, croons in a nightclub, breaks an assailant’s fingers, and outmaneuvers SUVs on an electric moped. We apologize for burying the lede.

One last thing: Last week’s newsletter contained a typo in the news section. The vehicle-leasing platform Bolt Bikes has rebranded to Zoomo, not Zooma.


Pod people

Is subscription the future of scooters? David Hyman, CEO of Unagi, stops by the podcast to make the case for leasing to Oliver Bruce.

Listen here

Jobs to be done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post new career openings in hopes of connecting our readers with professional opportunities in the burgeoning world of new mobility. Find out who’s hiring below and sign up for the newsletter to view fresh listings every week.


Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram | Blog | Podcast

California on brink of scooter ban

Biden backs micromobility, Tier wants its customers to charge its scooters, and Guinness certifies the world’s lightest e-bike.

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small electric vehicles like bikes and scooters. The reason you’re reading this email is that you signed up on our website or came to one of our events.

If you’re not a subscriber and you want to keep getting the latest news and analysis from inside the micromobility movement delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday, sign up here for free. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click that link.

Thank you for reading.


The Helium Network helps micromobility companies solve connectivity and tracking challenges without expensive cellular plans—connecting low-bandwidth devices like bikes, scooters, and skateboards over long ranges and optimized for extended battery life. With blockchain-based technology and a pay-for-usage model, companies can send more data than before, highlighting popular routes and staying compliant in the cities they operate.

Try the Helium Evaluation Kit, designed for tracking applications, and check out the recent Webinar Helium hosted with Micromobility Industries to learn more.


What you need to know this week

  • The California Assembly advanced legislation this week that would, in effect, end scooters, bikes, and moped rentals in the state. A new bill called AB-1286 prohibits shared micromobility operators from using liability waivers, the same waivers used for renting a car or buying a gym membership. Without these waivers, private micromobility companies, as well as public bike-share systems like San Francisco’s Bay Wheels, could be held liable for all kinds of rider accidents, including those caused by poor road conditions, reckless driving, and rider negligence. Few, if any, insurance companies could cover scooter and bike rentals under those circumstances, which would force most micromobility companies out of California. If AB-1286 has enough votes to pass in the Senate, it could become a law as soon as this week.

  • To be clear, under California’s current system, scooter riders who sign liability waivers still have the right to seek compensation for crashes that are caused by faulty hardware. Case and point, Lime and Bird are facing separate lawsuits in California right now that allege that they failed to properly maintain their scooters, leading to accidents.

  • That’s not all the transportation drama that’s happening in California right now. This week, Lyft said it would exit the state rather than comply with a new law that requires ride-hailers to classify their drivers as employees, then reversed course when a judge granted the company an emergency stay on the order. Now Lyft and Uber have until October to convince the court to overturn the ruling or get out.

  • A German mechanical engineer set a new Guinness World Record for the lightest electric bike prototype with his 15.15 lbs Freicycle.

  • The e-bike revolution continues. In June, US sales were up 190% compared to last year.

  • Bolt Bikes, a platform that leases electric bikes to self-employed delivery workers, raised $11 million in Series A round led by Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation and changed its name to Zoomo.

  • A new analysis by Experts Group predicts that two million cargo bikes will be sold annually by 2030, half for commercial use and half for personal.

  • On Monday, Tier announced plans to build a European network of charging stations for its next-gen scooter. Soon Tier users will be able to earn ride credits after a trip by bringing their scooter battery to one of the company’s charging kiosks, located at shops, cafes, and other public places. The program, which will launch next week in the Finnish city of Tampere, is aimed at reducing the amount of money the Berlin-based company spends on paying people to pick up its scooters in vans and bring them to warehouses to charge. (In addition to a battery that can be unlocked and removed via app, Tier’s updated scooter will also feature a blinker and a compartment to store a foldable helmet.)

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  • Citymapper and ScootRoute both launched turn-by-turn micromobility directions this week.

  • Spin launched a scooter trial in Milton Keynes, its first city in the UK.

  • Populus put together a massive report on all the different permitting, fees, and incentives structures that cities have adopted to manage micromobility.

  • Chinese micromobility manufacturer Yadea saw its earnings grow at least 90% in the first half of 2020, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and a successful ad campaign featuring actor Vin Diesel.

  • A Joe Biden campaign ad released the same day as gave his acceptance speech at the DNC touted micromobility as a solution to climate change.

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Pod people

“If micromobility does nothing more than save time and money, it’s not going to amount to all that much.”

On a new episode of the podcast, Horace Dediu talks to Oliver Bruce about how we haven’t yet found the right way to measure what micromobility is good for.

Listen here


Jobs to be done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post new career openings in hopes of connecting our readers with professional opportunities in the burgeoning world of new mobility. Find out who’s hiring below and sign up for the newsletter to view fresh listings every week.


Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram | Blog | Podcast

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