Electric scooter sharing in Rome (2022)

A few weeks ago I wrote about the glories of Uber Jump Bike Sharing in Rome, only to find out shortly thereafter that the service would be ending. Uber Jump was sold to Lime, so all the Uber Jump bikes have been taken off the streets, and will be rebranded and rereleased in cities all over Europe. You can read more about the sale here.

In the meantime, the mayor has been gleefully posting on Facebook about electric scooter sharing in Rome. Four companies have introduced fleets over the past few weeks – Lime, Helbiz, Dott and Bird.

Although slightly terrified, I decided to test out a Lime electric scooter with my sweetheart so that I could review it.

Lucky for you, we were stopped by the cops for breaking the rules of the road, so I have all kinds of insider info about what NOT to do when using an electric scooter sharing service in Rome, too!

Read on for all the details.

Electric scooter sharing in Rome (1)

Table of Contents

Download the Lime app

I went with Lime because I’m planning on using the electric bikes again as soon as they’re available, so I need the app for that anyway. I’ve also seen more Lime scooters in my neighborhood than the others.

Enter your payment info or choose a plan

Lime has some good plans available. If you think you’ll use the electric scooters a lot, I’d say to go for one.

(Video) E-scooters conquer but divide Rome

You can get a day pass for €9.99, or a monthly plan that allows you to ride for 30 minutes for a flat rate. 8 rides is €19.99/month, 25 rides is €44.99/month, 50 rides is €79.99, or you can get a pass 100-ride pass for €149.99 that lasts for three months.

You can also purchase an “unlock pass,” for €2.99, which is valid for seven days. It covers the unlocking fee of €1, so it’s only worthit if you’re planning on taking three or more rides in a week.

How much does a single ride cost on a Lime scooter?

For a single ride, in addition to the €1 unlocking fee, the cost is €0.25/minute.

Find a scooter

The zones for electric Lime scooters are small. We had to walk for ten minutes to find two.

Scan the QR code

The QR code is located left side of the handlebars. Once the scooter is unlocked, put up the kickstand, and you’re ready to go.

Electric scooter sharing in Rome (2)

Operating the electric scooter

Just like any other scooter, you have to get going a bit by pushing off with one foot. Once you’ve picked up some speed, you can use the “GO” toggle on the right of the handlebars to really take off. Be careful, because if you push the toggle too far too fast, you can jerk forward.

I HIGHLY recommend going somewhere quiet without much traffic to practice and get a feel for the thing (ideally where no one can see you because I looked like an idiot you may be slightly unbalanced at first).

What’s the speed limit for electric scooters?

According to this article in La Repubblica, the speed limit for electric scooters is 25 km/hour on the roadway, and 6 km/hr in a pedestrian area.

At one point, we were on a traffic-free stretch and I pushed the toggle as far as I was comfortable, which ended up being 13 km/hr. We were on a slight incline, so I’m sure it’s possible to go faster, but even 13 km/hr felt too fast for me.

What are the required safety measures?

You must be 14 or older to use an electric scooter. Helmets are required for riders aged 14 – 18 and are highly recommended for all riders. A reflector vest must be worn after sunset and during the night.

All scooters must have front and rear lights.

(Video) E-Scooter in Rome - What were we thinking? #vanlife #italy #rome

Although to me this seems pretty obvious, you can only have one person on a scooter at a time. They cannot be used to transport goods or animals either.

Again, all of this information is from this article from La Repubblica(in Italian). Check for updates to these rules/laws before riding, because they can change.

How long does the battery last?

The battery gets depleted quickly, or at least it seemed to do so for me. If I had known this, I would have taken a scooter that had a higher charge than mine, which was only at 25% when I unlocked it. By the end of my ride I was getting a BIG RED X, indicating that the battery was about to die. Not a comforting sight when scooting down a busy street.

The rules of the road for electric scooters

Like I said above, we got stopped by the cops. We had just come off a stretch of bike path on Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, which leads to a big, chaotic intersection. We did what we would have done with bikes, and what two cyclists did in front of us, and rode through the intersection at the crosswalk.

When we got to the other side, two cops came out of their little hut (what’s that thing called?) and stepped in front of us.

We were informed that electric scooters are consideredvehicles, which means they are NOT to be ridden through a crosswalk, or on a sidewalk. You can step off and WALK them if you want to use a crosswalk or turn one around on the sidewalk or something like that.

“Basically,” the cop said, “treat it like it’s a motorino.”

I read up on the rules when I got home, and it appears that the electric scooters do indeed follow the rules of the road for motorini, however, they are allowed on bike paths. What I’m not 100% sure of is what to do when you come across a bike path that’s ON A SIDEWALK, like many of them are in Rome. I’m still wondering about this, although I’d imagine that you’re allowed to ride the electric scooter on the sidewalk if there’s a section for a bike path.

Here’s some more information (in Italian – use Google translate and you should be able to get a good idea of what it says).

Ending your ride

Like the Uber Jump bikes, there are certain areas of the city where you can’t park Lime scooters. These areas are indicated in red on the map inside the app. The red zone for Lime scooters is, frankly, huge. Like I said above, we had to walk for 10 minutes to find the scooters in the first place, and then we had to walk for another 10 at the end of our ride to get to an acceptable parking area.

You had the option of leaving an Uber bike in a red zone and paying a fine, but that doesn’t appear to be possible with the Lime scooters. Another difference is that Lime asks you to upload a photo of you where you parked.

(Video) Are rental scooters a SCAM?

Electric scooter sharing in Rome (3)

Riding an electric scooter in Rome

So, I hated my scooter ride, and I doubt I’ll use one again. I’ll explain why below, but first, let’s try and think of the bright side…

The pros of electric scooter sharing in Rome

They’re eco-friendly

The best thing about these scooters is that they’re eco-friendly. I’m afraid that’s all I can come up with because I mostly think they suck eggs.

The cons of electric scooter sharing in Rome

So, why did I hate riding the Lime scooter? Let me count the ways!

Cobblestones

A city full of cobblestones + a “vehicle” that is low to the ground with no suspension = a vVeryY BbumpPyy rIIiidE. My feet ached afterwards, although that may be because I clenched them like Cinderella’s stepsister trying to wedge on a glass slipper for the entire ride because it was so rough and I was so tense.

Potholes

So, as the police officer told us, you’re meant to ride the electric scooters on the road (when there’s no bike path).

Of course, you ride off to the side, between the cars and the sidewalk, because if you tried to ride down a Roman street in traffic at 13 km/hr you would most certainly become roadkill.

Guess what else is off to the side of the road?! Potholes! You can’t really weave around them either, because if you did, you’d be swerving into traffic or slamming into the curb, potentially getting killed on one side by a car, or crashing and flying into the sidewalk on the other.

The cost

Our ride, which, in fairness, lasted over 30 minutes, came to almost €10EACH. That’s 20 EURO. We could have taken a cab there and back for the same price, and (most likely) not had a brush with death (more on that below) or the cops!

Safety

I don’t really know how to explain how I felt on the scooter, but the description would not include the words “stable” “comfortable” or “happy.” It would more likely include the words “sweating” “wobbly” and “acutely distressed”.

I think perhaps the size and color of the Lime scooters – they’re small and white – made me feel insignificant. A lot of the time, I was worried that drivers couldn’t see me, and I’m sure you could disappear in someone’s blind spot.

(Video) e-Scooter Rental in Rome

I also really hated the braking system on the scooter. There’s a hand brake on the left, which is not great for people with hands that are the size of mine. [Before you ask, they’re not freakishly small or anything. They’re normal sized hands for people who are 5’2″.]

There’s also a foot brake on the back tire that says “CAUTION: HOT” which made me not want to go anywhere near it. “Gently singe your foot while flying through traffic on a strip of metal! Joy of joys!” Thanks, but no thanks, Lime.

Anyway, back to how I almost croaked because of the hand brake:

On our last stretch of road, I was pretty uncomfortable after the bumps, the encounter with the cops, and the summer heat. I approached an intersection, slowed down, and then proceeded when it appeared clear.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice a car pulling up to the intersection because there was another car parked to my right, blocking my view. When I saw the car, I grabbed for the hand brake, but since I was hot and stressed and it was already slightly out of reach for me, my hand was sweaty and it slipped – TWICE. Thank GOD the driver noticed me, slowed down, and waved me on. Iwas shaking afterwards and almost felt like throwing up.

Electric scooter sharing in Rome (4)

Why I won’t be riding a Lime scooter again

All in all, I couldn’t wait to get off the thing. If Rome was a city that had smooth, dedicated bike paths everywhere, then I think the scooters would be great. They’re in the process of laying 150km of bike paths now, so maybe once those are completed, the scooters will be more practical.

Italian news outlets are already reporting on the problems these scooters are causing (hereand here are a few examples), mostly because people aren’t riding them responsibly (i.e. they’re not wearing helmets or obeying the rules of the road). If they’re supposed to be treated the same as a motorino, then helmets should absolutely be mandatory for everyone, and clear indications of where it’s acceptable and not acceptable to ride should be available – perhaps within the app itself or on the screen of the scooter.

I read that they’re eventually planning on increasing the number of electric scooters in the city to 16,000, which I think is stupid, but I hope I’m wrong.

And I really hope they bring back the damn bikes, al più presto possibile.

***DISCLAIMER: I’ll update this post as required, but please be aware that the rules and laws regarding electric scooters might change, and you as the rider are responsible for being aware of the most current and up-to-date rules and laws and following them. You can find information on this website from the Ministero dell’Interno(it’s in Italian, but the Google translation is pretty clear).***

Electric scooter sharing in Rome (5)

(Video) Roaming around Rome with E-Scooters

Related

FAQs

How do the electric scooters work in Rome? ›

Most of the electric scooter schemes in Rome have an unlock fee whenever you book an e-scooter, usually of €1, and they will then charge you a fraction of a euro per minute, though some charge by distance, or even a combination of both.

Can electric scooter carry 2 person? ›

Yes, you can rent a scooter and ride with a passenger. They are equipped with passenger foot pegs and do seat two people. However, you MUST be an experienced rider in order to carry a passenger.

What did the queen say about e-scooters? ›

We need to face the reality that transport is evolving, and micro mobility vehicles and e-scooters will be on our roads, for better or worse.

How many e-scooters are there in Rome? ›

The current invasion of the Italian capital comes from e-scooters -- more than 14,000 of them -- modern chariots that block sidewalks, unnerve drivers and kill.

Is it a good idea to rent a scooter in Rome? ›

Besides just the look, scooters are also one of the best ways to get around Rome because you won't be dependent on public transportation, which isn't always super reliable in over there. In short, you won't have to worry about how you're going to get to all the sights in Rome and places you want to visit!

How do you drive a scooter in Rome? ›

To rent and ride a motorino in Rome, all you need is a valid drivers license, a sense of adventure and a good dose of common sense. Watch out for wet cobblestones, potholes, restricted traffic areas and other drivers. You can drive a motorino up to 125cc with no special license required.

Can 3 people travel in a scooter? ›

Triple riding is illegal in India

However, riding more than two on a two-wheeler is illegal and there's a challan if you do it according to the MV Act. Two-wheelers are not designed to carry more than two people.

How many people can fit on an electric scooter? ›

No more than one person at a time should operate an e-scooter. E-scooters are not intended for more than one rider.

What happens if the police see you on an electric scooter? ›

Penalties and offences

up to £100 fine and three to six penalty points for riding without the correct licence.

Why are e-scooters a problem? ›

E-scooters are also dangerous because they are not easy to ride safely. E-scooter sharing companies could have made them easier to ride. However, they failed to do this, putting riders and other innocent people in danger.

What is the problem with electric scooters? ›

By far the biggest issue with electric two-wheelers in India is range. Even though many manufacturers claim upwards of 150km range, the real-world result is quite less in reality. On average, an acceptable level would be offering around 100km on a single charge, far lesser than a typical scooter's range on a tankful.

Why EV scooter caught fire? ›

Most often, it is due to a short circuit. The primary causes of a fire are: Cell quality, battery design (the way cells are connected and packaged) and issues with battery management system (BMS) (management of cells via sensing and software intelligence). And this is not the only case.

Do I need a license to drive a scooter in Italy? ›

To drive in Italy it is required a valid driving license. Valid national driving licence enabling to drive the category of the vehicle being driven. Officially you can't drive a scooter or car without International driving permit, because Italian police can fine you and obligate you to pay a sum of minimal 400 €.

Is it easy to rent a scooter in Italy? ›

And, it is simple, you need to be above 18 years of age. And, if you have money and proof of your eligibility as a driver, then you can rent a scooter in Italy in a minute's time. So, carry your credit card, driver's license, identity card, and passport to successfully rent a scooter in Italy.

Can you drive electric scooter without license in Italy? ›

Electric scooters, on the other hand, are equated to bikes. To drive them you will not need a driving license and insurance, but you must be of age or have an AM license.

What do you need to rent a scooter in Rome? ›

What you need to rent a Scooter? All you need is a valid passport or identity card, a credit card to make the necessary deposit depending on the model chosen, and a valid driver's license. In Italy it is possible to drive up to 125cc scooters with the normal European driving license for cars.

Are scooters cheaper than Uber? ›

Every scooter costs $1 to start, but the per-minute pricing varies by company and also depends on a variety of factors. Lyft costs 15 to 29 cents per minute, Uber costs 15 to 30 cents, Lime costs 15 to 32, and Bird costs 15 to 39. All the pricing is generally similar between brands.

How much is a Vespa rent in Rome? ›

Rome by Vespa is the Vespa rental company with the best fares in Rome. A Vespa rental costs 59 € for 24 hours, 115 € for 48 hours, 160 € for 3 days.

Do you tip your driver in Rome? ›

In general, tipping taxi drivers in Rome is not necessary however, it is becoming more and more common to round up your bill, especially if it makes change easier. This is entirely discretional, not expected and usually only done if the driver was especially helpful or pleasant.

Do you tip private drivers in Rome? ›

Tipping a private driver in Italy depends on the quality of the service and the amount of time involved. If it's a short drive to the hotel, than tip like you would a taxi. If it's a full day's tour where you driver is also a guide, then 10% is good. Never tip if the service is poor or rude.

What license do you need to rent a scooter in Italy? ›

Anything bigger than a 50cc requires a motorbike licence and adult age. Keep in mind that( at least as far as I remember) you can't have a passenger on the back of a 50cc, they are designed for one rider only. One thing you will need though is "guts" lol.

Can you unlock 2 scooters at once? ›

How many scooters can be unlocked with Group Ride? You can unlock up to five scooters at a time. Can I reserve vehicles for myself and my Group Ride guests? Yes, you can reserve up to 5 vehicles for your Group.

What happens if you go over weight limit on scooter? ›

What is affected when you ride with a heavy load? When you add extra weight to the electric scooter, it could exceed the manufacturer's weight limit recommendations and damage it. It could cause damage to the popular electric scooter's frame, battery life, speed, and aggregate tire wear.

Can scooters have passengers? ›

Once you have passed your Practical Test, you will have a licence to ride any machine (so long as its power is restricted to 35kW) without L-plates and you may carry a pillion passenger.

What is the legal limit for a scooter? ›

Riders must be 18 or over and hold at least a provisional driving license. The speed limit of trial e-scooters is capped at 12.5mph - they will automatically reduce speed to 8mph in 'go slow' areas.

What are the rules for electric scooters? ›

What are the laws governing e-scooters? Currently, there isn't a specific law for e-scooters so they are recognised as "powered transporters" - falling under the same laws and regulations as motor vehicles, and subject to all the same legal requirements - MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction.

Can electric scooter be tracked? ›

The Spotter GPS tracker will send the location of the scooter at 60-second intervals when moving and at 30-minute intervals when stationary.

Is it illegal to walk with electric scooter? ›

However, under UK law, e-scooters, alongside hoverboards and electric unicycles, are considered “powered transporters”. This classification means that it's illegal to use them on pavements, cycle lanes or in pedestrianised areas, so you would only be able to use your new scooter on your own private property.

Why are people against electric scooters? ›

Some people hate e-scooters because not all states have regulations for riders. Safety: Many believe that e-scooters are unsafe and a hazard to pedestrians. Study stated that electric scooters are not more dangerous than other modes of transportation.

How many accidents are on e-scooters? ›

E-SCOOTER SAFETY CONCERNS

With 1,352 collisions and 1,434 casualties in 2021, up from 460 and 484 in the previous year. A total of 10 e-scooter riders were killed in collisions in 2021, with a further 331 being seriously injured.

Why is everyone buying electric scooters? ›

Electric scooters are powered by batteries, so there is no emissions of harmful gases. This makes them an excellent choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact. Electric scooters are also very quiet, meaning that they cause less noise pollution than other vehicles.

Is electric scooter risky? ›

If you own an electric scooter, should you be worried? According to a report by RISE, a Sweden-based research institute, there can be several reasons for thermal runaway. This can be triggered by even a short circuit in the battery pack, caused due to a circuit malfunction or accidents damaging the battery pack.

How safe are electric scooters? ›

They are safe. The average user though... probably not as much. With the increasing popularity of electric scooters, and in particular share scooters, there were some accidents that pointed at the electric scooter as a dangerous vehicle.

Is electric scooter is successful? ›

There is nothing like Electric Scooters are not successful, as per their limited range they are best suited for city commutes only. If we talk about usability, it is practical, economic and its powerful 2200 W motors is capable enough to take load of 180 kg easily.

Are electric scooters easily stolen? ›

Your electric scooter provides you with a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. The only problem? It's very easy to steal, so if you park it in an unprotected place, it's not uncommon for someone to come along and steal it from you!

How do you stop an electric scooter fire? ›

When batteries are overcharged, they can heat up and catch fire easily. So be sure to unplug batteries once they are fully charged. Thankfully most electric scooter batteries have a Battery Management System in place to prevent lithium battery fires. Never leave your electric scooter unattended while it is charging.

Do electric scooters cause accidents? ›

Much of the increase involves e-scooter emergency room visits. The most frequent injuries were to upper and lower limbs, head, and neck. 71 fatalities associated with micro-mobility products were reported throughout this period, although the recording is incomplete.

Are electric scooter legal in Italy? ›

One must be at least 14 years old to ride an electric scooter; The use of a helmet is mandatory from 14 to 18 years old; You do not need to have a driver's license to use an Electric scooter; You do not need to have insurance coverage to use an Electric scooter.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a scooter in Italy? ›

Motorcycle or moped riders must wear a helmet. Helmets must be European type-approved and must be worn correctly at all times. FINE for non-compliance (article 171, paragraph 2, Italian Highway Code): 80 to 323 Euros.

How much is scooter insurance in Italy? ›

While in March an annual insurance premium cost on average 156 euros, by December the price had risen to 164 euros.
...
Average annual cost of moped insurance policies in Italy in selected months of 2019 (in euros)
CharacteristicAverage price in euros
September164
June150
March156
20 Apr 2022

How fast do scooters go in Italy? ›

Italy. The Italian government updated their e-scooter laws in 2020, effectively making scooters equivalent to bikes. The minimum age is set to 14, and helmets are considered mandatory for riders under 18. E-scooters are now permissible on roads where bikes are also allowed, at a max speed of 25 km/h.

What scooter app is the cheapest? ›

Based on these factors, we can consider Bird as the cheapest e scooter app.
...
Bird – Electric Vehicle Sharing Company
  • Maps to Find Nearby Scooter.
  • Real-time GPS Tracking.
  • QR Code Integration to Lock and Unlock.
  • Payment Gateway Integration.
  • Smart Lock.
1 Sept 2021

Is scooter hard to ride? ›

Learning to ride an electric scooter is relatively easy, though being able to safely commute in traffic is learned through experience. If you're a total beginner, make sure to wear a helmet, practice, and gain confidence before riding in mixed traffic.

Are electric scooters legal in Rome? ›

By law you must be a minimum of 14 years old to ride a private e-scooter in Rome. However most of the apps also have a lower age limit for use of the vehicles that is greater than 14 years old – usually 18.

What is the maximum speed of electric scooter without license? ›

In light of this, low-speed models with a 250-watt electric motor and a top speed of up to 25 kmph do not constitute motor vehicles. These electric scooters do not require registration and do not require a driver's license either.

What happens if you drive without a license in Italy? ›

According to Italy's Highway Code, article 116 states that fines range from €2,257 to €9,032 for driving on an expired (or invalid) licence. If you're caught doing it again within a two-year period, there are sanctions of up to one year's imprisonment.

How do Escooters get charged? ›

Connect the charger plug to the scooter's charging port

Most chargers are keyed so they will only go in one way, but some are poorly designed and you can still short the connector. Plug the charger into the port on your electric scooter.

How do the Voi scooters get charged? ›

It consists of a thin and lightweight receiver coil and charger unit attached to the scooter. A charging pad below the scooter, which consists of a thin printed circuit board-based coil and control unit, transfers power wirelessly.

Is electric scooter easy to drive? ›

They are easier to navigate through traffic and take up only one to three units of electricity per charge (approx Rs 10 per unit of electricity).

Can you use Escooters in public? ›

Rental electric scooters (e-scooters) are the only way to legally ride an e-scooter on public roads or in other public places within London - and even this is limited to specific boroughs. It is still illegal to use privately-owned e-scooters or other powered transporters on public roads.

What are the rules for Escooters? ›

Other safety rules for trial e-scooter users
  • e-scooters should only be used within the local area hosting the trial.
  • e-scooters should be used by one person at a time.
  • you must not tow anything using an e-scooter.
  • you must not use a mobile phone when using an e-scooter.
13 Jul 2020

How long do Escooters last? ›

On average, e-scooters in a ride-share fleet last for 9 to 18 months, while personal ones last for up to 3 years. The efficiency of a personal e-scooter reduces after the first 2 years, but with proper care and maintenance, you'll still be cruising your scooter for up to 3 years or even more.

Who can drive scooter in Italy? ›

To drive in Italy it is required a valid driving license. Valid national driving licence enabling to drive the category of the vehicle being driven. Officially you can't drive a scooter or car without International driving permit, because Italian police can fine you and obligate you to pay a sum of minimal 400 €.

Can you ride electric scooters on the road in Italy? ›

Having now full authorization to circulate on the street, it is always good not to lose your temper if involved in an accident and to know what to do in the event of a road accident in Italy. Scooters are vehicles and therefore, as drivers, they must obey the rules of the road as if driving a car.

Where can I ride an electric scooter in Italy? ›

Italy. The Italian government updated their e-scooter laws in 2020, effectively making scooters equivalent to bikes. The minimum age is set to 14, and helmets are considered mandatory for riders under 18. E-scooters are now permissible on roads where bikes are also allowed, at a max speed of 25 km/h.

Is Voi day pass 24 hours? ›

It costs £1 to unlock the scooter and then £0.20 per minute of usage. Voi also offers 24-hour day passes and 30-day monthly passes.

How much is a Voi day pass? ›

The day pass has gone up in price. The pass, which provides up to nine rides or 200 minutes riding, has increased in price from £4.99 to £7.

How long can you pause a Voi ride for? ›

The rental period will continue while the Vehicle is temporarily parked. Save in respect of Long Term Rentals, the maximum usage period is 1 hour, after which the ride will be ended by Voi and, at this point, You must ensure that the Vehicle is parked in accordance with this Agreement.

Videos

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