Drinking while operating a vehicle, of any kind, is illegal and very dangerous. Here is Lime’s response to solve the problem, the electric scooters will be able to tell when you are too drunk to ride one.
Talking scooters and safety with co-founder Brad Bao
Lime co-founder and executive chairman Brad Bao chatted with The Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patel and senior transportation reporter Andrew J. Hawkins about what’s next for the e-scooter revolution in this week’s Vergecast interview. Bao discussed how scooter-sharing companies could better promote safety without compromising the convenience, as well as how his company is protecting its customers’ private data.
You can listen to the discussion in its entirety on The Vergecast right now. Below is a lightly edited excerpt from this interview regarding some of Bao’s ideas about how to keep drunk riders from using Lime’s scooters.
Andrew J. Hawkins: Is there an innovative way of looking at how you can promote safety in a way that you know encourages people to use helmets while also not making it a less convenient service to use?
Brad Bao: Safety is the number one thing for us as a company and I think that when it comes to mobility, safety is the baseline. Without that, nothing matters. And that’s why we focus so much on it. In the mobility space, I think safety is a result of a combination of different things. In this case, we are not only doing our part, but also working very proactively and aggressively with authorities, and with cities, with urban planners.
On the hardware side, that’s the reason that we built a very extensive team in working on the customized hardware, to improve on hardware and also our own operations. On the other hand, we launched a Respect the Ride campaign and devoted over $3 million for marketing, outreach, and education, and we gave away more than 250,000 helmets to help improve safety.
We are sharing data proactively. Sharing that data with the city, it helped them to do better priorities where that bike lane should be. How wide it will be. And we can share them with the data. We have seen very positive change in many cities that we were working with, in Paris, Austin, Seattle, Portland, you name it. Many cities have been leveraging the data we shared and started putting in improved infrastructures.
On the technology side, with a connected service like ours, there’s so much more we can do. Working on drunk driving detections, we can just slow down the vehicle where we detect an irregular driving.
Nilay Patel: You have a Breathalyzer?
No, I think there are better ways to do it. Take one thing, for example. Our scooters have all kinds of sensors that can sense whether it’s driving in a straight line or whether it’s wobbling. We do the warning. We can slow it down. We’re still working on it. It’s not launched, but that’s an example of many things that we’re improving right now on the issue of data.
Andrew J. Hawkins: I’m glad you brought that up because as I’m sure you know, there’s this issue going on right now in the city of Los Angeles where they’re fighting a couple of the scooter companies on access to more location-based data. What’s Lime’s stance on this?
Data and privacy is another very key thing for us as a company. That’s a responsibility we have for the users as well as for cities and communities as well. We’re working with the city of LA on data standards. I think there’s always a balance we have to strike. The demand for the city side and the protection of the users. And what do we think makes the most sense as to how we utilize that data. What matters and what does not. That for urban planning, for monitoring the traffic, that, I think, is very valuable that we share that data with the city, helping them to further improve urban transportation. In this case, that is not a one company or city alone that can do this. It is a combination of things and the cooperation among us. We should share where the traffic patterns are, and when and where most of the trips happen, but we don’t need to and the city does not need to know who is the individual that took those trips. Aggregate data that does help our urban planning side, and helping to fight the traffic congestion. But that’s not necessary to reveal that user and privacy identities.