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The effort to bring e-scooters to the streets of New York got a jolt Tuesday — from star sprinter Usain Bolt.

The nine-time Olympic gold medalist widely considered to be the greatest sprinter in the world — lent his backing to the company, also dubbed Bolt, at a press conference outside City Hall.

“The first thing people always say to me when I get somewhere late … is that, ‘Why didn’t you run?’” Bolt joked. “Now I actually have the Bolt scooter to get there quickly.”

Bolt is one company in a crowded marketplace of dockless electric scooters hoping that New York will legalize the use of the technology. Others include Bird and Lime, who have rolled out their products in cities across the country. Bolt said it has hundreds of scooters operating in Fort Lauderdale.

The company sought to set itself apart not just with its celebrity spokesman, but by saying it was built specifically for the mean streets of New York City.

A model on display at City Hall — dubbed a “Bolt Chariot” — was considerably bulkier than Bird or Lime scooters. It includes an area in the front that can be used to store a purse or backpack, enough room for both feet to face forward, two cupholders for the thirstiest of commuters and 10-inch wheels, larger than the competition, to deal with potholes.

“As you know, the streets of New York are pretty tough, so we’ve had to design our scooters to be tough as well,” Bolt head of operations Will Nicholas, a former Tesla executive, said.

Asked if they’d commit money to helping build transportation infrastructure like bike lanes, the Bolt execs declined to offer a dollar figure. But Bolt co-CEO Sarah Haynes the company would offer discounted rides to veterans and people living in low-income areas or transit deserts.

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Nicholas would not say how much the company was paying Bolt, but the runner noted he did have five scooters of his own at home.

“Growing up in Jamaica, being on time was everything to me — my dad was all about time. He always said, be two hours earlier, [rather] than one minute late,” Bolt said.

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The scooters cost a dollar to activate for a ride, plus 15 cents a minute. They can travel “well over 20 miles per charge,” Nicholas said.

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In many cities, regulations have limited e-scooters to around 15 miles per hour. That’s slower than Bolt can run — he hit 27.8 m.p.h. in 2009, setting a world record.

“Sometimes you need to slow down,” Bolt said.


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9 comments to this article

  1. Anonymous

    on March 12, 2019 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    He is getting bigger everyday

  2. Anonymous

    on March 12, 2019 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Not taking anything away from this deal but I have to ask, is scooters still a thing?

    • Nameless...

      on March 13, 2019 at 7:58 am - Reply

      Anon yes scooter is big business. Certain cities across the states started bringing bicycles and scooters as a mean to encourage people to adopt a less sedentary lifestyle. Along with the bike riding, the scooters play a big part in less cars on the road, less emissions expelling in the air, less fog equals better air and less impact on “climate change”.

      Young professionals especially in the city I live in, jump on the scooters in a heartbeat, it is convenient, gets them to the trains or nearby jobs quickly. They don’t have to worry about car insurance, maintenance, parking fees etc. These new scooters are a part of a billion dollar industry.

      Not every state has adopted this trend but it is rapidly growing. There has been a downside. Some cities have not given the greenlight to these scooters because of the liabilities they present. While it is convenient because of the “rideshare” aspect, you can drop them off anywhere, someone else can rent it and there is always others available, there has been an increase in accidents. I personally am hesitant to use these even casually because of the risks. There are no helmets provided and these things are fast.

      This venture he has taken on and endorsed is a great step to lengthen his portfolio. Money deh deh.

  3. Anonymous

    on March 12, 2019 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    I think it’s the big scooter like the citi bike the power ones look how the city bikes taking over the city now they claim it’s faster for traffic to get around the city

  4. Real

    on March 12, 2019 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    At least him a read weh wi advise ova ya lmao

  5. Official Latty

    on March 13, 2019 at 2:46 am - Reply

    Kmrct aww boi. A peer foolinish him duh more while like dem have him unda some hypnosis..dis man can really help some Jamaican ppl if him want eno… But because him too flipping white inna him black mind him will neva see… Yuh run fi mi country yeah but a peer fuckery him go inna mi naaaa look. Bakkle a fling boooooooooooooooo! All dis a kasi fault.

    • Annoyed

      on March 13, 2019 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      You need fi go your rass bed!! This ain’t no black n white issue!! It’s about going where the money is!! While us Jamaicans want Sprawl out pon Benz n Lexus n Bimma! Most people in the world are looking for the scooter way out and are spending big bucks to get it!!

      You ain’t a business mastermind. You’re a Fucking Fool!

      Go suck yuh madda ole idiot!!

  6. Real

    on March 13, 2019 at 6:38 am - Reply

    But scooter big aEurope so he probably did his reasearch

  7. Anonymous

    on March 14, 2019 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Latty you dunce bad

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