New Yorkers may be seeing more electric-powered scooters zipping up and down streets next year.
"It's definitely something that I would try. It was a smooth ride, it was easy to operate," said Bob Ponce, who took a ride on the e-scooter, called Link, during a demonstration at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday.
Link scooters are made by a Boston-based startup, Superpedestrian.
It's one of several companies eager to be a part of a pilot for an e-scooter share program, similar to Citi Bike rentals.
The boundaries have yet to be determined, but Manhattan will be off limits.
"I can actually see that there would be a demand for folks because, as you know, during the pandemic, there has been a reluctance of folks going back to trains or buses in New York," said Curtis Archer, a board member of Transportation Alternatives, a safe streets group.
E-scooters are part of trend called micromobility—personal electric devices that have become a transportation alternative to cars, taxis and mass transit, particularly since the pandemic.
Scooter-share programs have popped up in cities around the country and world, but the programs can cause headaches for pedestrians, especially when people ride them on the sidewalk or park them carelessly.
Representatives for Superpedestrian showed off their scooters' safety feature: the device automatically slows down, and powers down, if it rolls into an area it should not be in.
During one demonstration, the first boundary was set at a group of orange cones—that's where the scooter automatically slowed from 15 miles per hour to 7.5 miles per hour—at the other orange cone, the scooter automatically stoped.
It’s a fix, the developers of the product say, to a problem that has bedeviled other cities.
"The city's been reluctant to actually open the streets to shared-micromobility because they want to make sure fleets can stay away from sidewalks and stay away from pedestrian areas," Paul Steely White, director of development at Superpedestrian.
The state and city this year legalized E-scooters, permitting them to go up to 15 miles an hour. The city law also authorized a test of the scooter ride-share program.
They are different from electric mopeds, which were already legal and can travel 30 miles an hour. They are used by the Revel moped-sharing service.
The city will continue soliciting proposals from e-scooter operators until October 15, with a pilot to launch outside of Manhattan as early as March.