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Pullman, Wash., Will Spin Up E-Scooters, E-Bikes

The city will contract with San Francisco-based micromobility firm Spin for as many as 100 e-scooters and 50 e-bicycles. The devices are already available on the Washington State University campus in Pullman.

Leg up, a rider is poised to pedal away, on a battery-powered mountain bike.
(TNS) — Electric bikes and scooters are coming to the city of Pullman.

City councilors finalized a contract with Spin, a micromobility company based in San Francisco, during its regular meeting Tuesday night. The organization that has supplied the devices to Washington State University has agreed to expand services throughout the town.

Pullman Community Development Director RJ Lott said the company presented a partnership with the city in July 2022. As many as 100 e-scooters and 50 e-bicycles will be deployed for a prorated annual fee of $12,000 and a $0.20 ride fee paid by Spin. The contract is set through Dec. 31, and provides an option to renew for 2025.

The organization will give quarterly updates to Lott. It’s also required to provide its own insurance.

Some councilors were concerned scooters could cause disruption during Project Downtown’s construction, a large revitalization effort scheduled to begin in April and last until October.

John Lankford, Spin’s senior director of partnerships, policy and communication, said the company can use geo-fencing to keep the devices away from Main Street.

The feature inhibits e-scooters and e-bikes from going outside permissible areas. Each device has a small sensor that detects its location. If an e-scooter or e-bike goes into an impermissible area, auditory and visual alerts will notify the driver.

Councilor Nathan Weller asked how the devices will be maintained and where they would be stored. Lankford said the electric scooters and bikes can be geo-fenced to a certain area. The company would employ a service team to change out the devices' rechargeable batteries, transport and care for them.

Councilor Carla de Lira inquired if the organization would provide a workshop introducing the community to the electric bikes and scooters, as well as safety measures.

Lankford said Spin has a “standard playbook” for education and training, and will hold a series of events showing people how to use them.

Weller asked if riders will be required to wear a helmet.

City Administrator Mike Urban said, according to city code, drivers are required to wear a helmet while operating a motorized foot scooter or bike.

Lankford said the company has found enforcing helmets is most effective when there's incentives. He added there’s a few options, one being an app that can notify drivers helmets are required to ride. The organization can also do helmet giveaways and make sure people have access to helmets across the city.

The best option, Lankford said, is offering a helmet selfie incentive. The app can ask riders to take a selfie at the end of their ride and receive a lowered fee on their next ride.

Lott said a start date is not listed within the contract. He added it will be determined in the future by the city and Spin.

©2024 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.