August 31, 2020

Scooter pilot program begins Sept. 1

Bird scooters

Electric scooters, which made their debut in Omaha last year, are coming to Lincoln Sept. 1. Each scooter costs $1 to unlock and 10 to 35 cents per minute to ride.

A fleet of 250 electric scooters is rolling into downtown Lincoln Sept. 1 as part of a new city pilot program.

The scooters, made by companies Spin and Bird, will be available to rent throughout the downtown area until Aug. 31 of next year.

“The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is excited to see this new mode of transportation being made available to our students, faculty and staff,” said Emily Deeker, director of campus planning and environment. “Similar to BikeLNK, these scooters will expand mobility options for those seeking an alternative to driving or walking.”

Several scooter parking zones are available on the edge of City Campus, including at 13th and R Street, R Street in front of the Nebraska Union, 17th Street in front of Knoll Residential Center, 17th and Vine Street, and 16th and W Street.

To rent the scooters, Huskers will need to download either the Bird or Spin mobile app. After registering and adding a payment method, the app displays a map of where all available devices are located. Both brands of scooters cost $1 to unlock and 10 to 35 cents per minute to ride (pricing varies depending on city).

Users can ride the scooters within a designated area downtown, which borders Antelope Valley Parkway to the east, Pinnacle Arena Drive in the Haymarket to the west, H Street near Lincoln Mall to the south, and X Street near Nebraska Hall to the north. Both companies use a concept known as geofencing to restrict where the devices can go, so if a scooter is brought outside the set boundaries, it will stop running.

Scooter map
City of Lincoln
The geofenced boundaries where scooters can run in downtown Lincoln.

Because the scooters can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, they are not allowed on city or university sidewalks. Riders are required to stick to bike lanes or the street.

“While this is a fun new activity for everyone on campus, it’s important that riders act responsibly and follow all traffic rules,” Deeker said. “The safety of our university pedestrians is our top priority.”

Bird and Spin scooters are also dockless, meaning that after a ride is finished, they can be dropped off virtually anywhere downtown. However, riders are encouraged to keep pedestrian walkways clear and return the scooters to a parking zone if possible.

Other operation guidelines, as outlined by the City of Lincoln, include:

  • Riders must be at least 18 years old;
  • Helmets are encouraged, but not required;
  • Only one rider is permitted on a scooter at a time; and
  • Riders must not operate scooters while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about the scooter pilot project, vendor apps and all safety and operating guidelines here or by contacting Mark Lutjeharms, Lincoln’s traffic engineering manager, at or 402-416-9925.