A man rides a Lime rental bicycle in uptown Charlotte in late March. The company has phased out the rental bikes.
David Boraks / WFAE

It looks like electric scooters have beaten out dockless bicycles in the race for users on Charlotte's streets. Lime said Thursday it has phased out its green rental bicycles in Charlotte over the past several weeks to focus on scooters.  

Scooters lined up on South Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte Wednesday.
David Boraks / WFAE

It has been 10 months since electric scooters appeared on Charlotte streets. Since then, city officials have been trying to figure out how to manage things like parking and safety. This week, the city began a six-month pilot project using small electronic payments that it hopes will help.

Some people love electric scooters. Some people hate them. And some people charge them — for money.

By day, Joel Kirzner is a consultant in Arlington, Va. But when he wraps up work in the office, he pulls out his phone and checks multiple scooter apps to see what's available nearby.

If there are scooters low on battery, they'll show up in the map on his phone. And if he can find the scooter in real life (and beat any rival chargers to the punch), he'll earn a few bucks for each one he charges at home.

"It's like Pokémon Go and you make money," he says.

North Carolina legislators have taken a small first step toward regulating electric scooters as Charlotte and other cities wrestle with managing scooters and the companies that offer them to the public.

A House transportation panel voted Tuesday to define "electric stand up scooters" in state law, and make clear they're exempt from registration requirements for mopeds and other vehicles.

Scooters on North Tryon Street  uptown in December 2018.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte City Council members approved new rules for electric scooters Monday, but only after a long debate that several members say shows a need to revisit the rules later.

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks / WFAE

Since last May, three companies have put about 900 electric scooters on Charlotte streets.  In October 2018, users took more than 120,000 e-scooter rides. Now, city officials want to put regulations on the booming e-scooter industry. 

Spin Scooters

Updated 10:09 p.m.
Charlotte is getting a third electric scooter company. San Francisco-based Spin says it will put 100 scooters on city streets beginning Wednesday.  

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks / WFAE

Some of Charlotte’s Lime electric scooters might be getting recalled over concerns they may fall apart while people are using them, according to the Washington Post.

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks / WFAE

Statewide regulations may be coming for scooter rentals in Charlotte and other North Carolina cities. The House transportation committee chairman, Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County, told NC Insider Thursday he plans to introduce a bill that would address how the scooters should be defined under the state's traffic laws. 

Scooters parked outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018
Charlotte's electric scooter pilot program is now over, and it looks like scooters are here to stay. For now, city staff are not recommending any new local safety rules.  Instead, they'll start a scooter safety campaign in the coming weeks. 

Over the past year, companies have been rolling out electric scooters by the thousands in cities across the country — from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C., to Lubbock, Texas. People download the app, find a nearby scooter and then just unlock and ride. But as these shared scooters have spread, so have concerns about safety.

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks / WFAE

A bad wreck this week is bringing new urgency to discussions about how the city should regulate electric rental scooters, which appeared on city streets in May. Officials say there are trade-offs - between promoting a popular new transportation option and public safety.

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks / WFAE

A pilot program allowing electric scooters on Charlotte streets is continuing through October, when city officials say they'll evaluate how it's working. On Monday, city council member Larken Egleston warned that some users are behaving dangerously and said he doesn't think the city should wait to talk about new rules.

Nick de la Canal/ WFAE

The Charlotte City Council will discuss the pilot programs for dockless bikes and electric scooters at Monday’s council meeting just months after the programs were initiated.

Rental bikes are lined up in front of an apartment building on North Tryon Street.
David Boraks / WFAE

One of four companies offering dockless bicycles in Charlotte as part of a city bike-sharing trial is pulling out. China-based ofo says it decided to re-evaluate its presence in "markets that present obstacles," including Charlotte.

Lime has begun introducing its electric rental scooters in Charlotte. The company expects to have about 100 by the end of the weekend.

Officials with the scooter and bike rental company Lime say they thought they had the support of city leaders when they introduced their electric scooters uptown in early May — without a permit. That wasn't the case, and the company had to pull scooters off the streets. This week, Lime got its permit, as did two other scooter companies — Bird and Spin.

Charlotte City Council member tried out a scooter recently.
Courtesy of Tariq Bokhari

Electric rental scooters are now legal in Charlotte. Three companies have gotten city permits to begin deploying scooters around uptown beginning Monday - after one started without permission.