As a hip millennial who lives in the North Loop of Minneapolis, using ride-share scooters are essential for getting around. I honestly don't drive my car much, I fill up my gas tank about once a month.
Renting (or unlocking) these scooters can be done in seconds using your phone. Currently, there's three brands of scooters in Minneapolis: Lime, Lyft and Spin, while right now Lime is the only available brand in St. Paul.
The price for all three scooters is the same, $1 to unlock, then .15 cents for every minute you use them.
Even though they all accomplish the same goal, some scooters are better than others, so here's this humble reporter's opinion on which you should opt for.
Lime scooters are far and away the best available right now for multiple reasons. First, they're available 24 hours a day unlike the others, who don't allow them to be ridden after 10 p.m.
They also are the biggest and bulkiest, and can withstand normal bumps and potholes when you drive over them.
Most of these scooters top out at 15 mph but I've been able to get a few up to 20 mph.
Check out my most recent ride, a nine-minute, 1.7 mile trip that cost just $2.35.
They also seem to be the most available scooter of the three, so they're easy to find.
Spin expanded to Minneapolis this year too. They're built similar to Lyft's (more on that next), they're lower to the ground and they do withstand bumps better than Lyft, but not as well as Lime.
They top out at 16 mph but if you're going down a hill and you pick up more speed, they have a brake function that kicks in and kind of startles you.
I understand safety's first, but the constant slowing down is tough to deal with.
I've also had a tough time unlocking them. For the first week they were here, they wouldn't unlock for me.
They also are the most scarce of the three scooters to find.
Lyft is the latest company to get in on the scooter game. Although they are my preferred car-share company, their scooters are the worst of the trio.
They are way too small and have a tough time dealing with bumps in the road. I've nearly been bucked off when going over a divot. I stand at 5' 9" and the handlebars are a good few inches below my waist. It feels like a scooter for children.
Unlike Lime and Spin, they have an electric braking system, which does make slowing down a little bit easier.
The only good perk of Lyft scooters are that you can reserve one beforehand. Where with Lime and Spin, it's just a first-come first serve basis.
And there's nothing more awkward for Minnesotans than multiple people walking up to the same scooter and doing the classic, "ope, you can have it... No you can have it."
But what about Bird?
This is an ode to the best scooter that you can't currently find in the Twin Cities.
They reached speeds of 15 mph, were the most comfortable ride and were the most available during the scooter boom last year.
They were due to return to St. Paul this summer having been selected as an operator for 2019, but judging by its app, they haven't arrived yet.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, the city launched a pilot program for 2019 to improve regulations for the scooters and Bird wasn't selected. Instead, Lime, Lyft, Spin and Jump were.
However, Jump – an Uber owned company – pulled out after negotiations with the Department of Public Works fell through, according to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Addressing the complaints about scooters
I do agree that scooter users need to be better at where they leave them on the sidewalks.
Instead of putting them in the middle where it causes people to walk around them, they should be put parallel with the flow of traffic and towards the edge of the sidewalk.
That said, I've heard people say they're an eyesore? But the broken glass, trash and animal waste you find on the sidewalks isn't? The Twin Cities has bigger litter problems than errant scooters.
To me these scooters are a convenient and affordable way to get around town. And a motto I was talking about with friends is, "people who don't like scooters have never ridden one."
So if you haven't had a chance to hop on one try it out. Remember to stay in bike lanes – which are all over the Twin Cities – and avoid riding on sidewalks.
Oh, and wear a helmet.