Dust off your helmet, because micromobility companies around the country are offering you a free chance to exercise — in more ways than one.
In a national campaign called "Roll to the Polls," micromobility companies are teaming up with the non-profit North American Bikeshare Association (NABA) to give voters free or discount rides to their polling place on Election Day.
In addition to bikes, participating companies — including Bird, Gotcha, and Lyft — have e-scooters or ridesharing.
"If voting is one of our most fundamental rights as citizens, then ensuring that riders have easy access to their ballot boxes is one of our most fundamental responsibilities as mobility providers."
The pandemic prompted a surge in interest for options to cast a ballot from afar — like via voting online or mail-in ballots. But in some states, it is already too late to request an absentee ballot. Other states do not recognize the pandemic as a legitimate reason for mail-in ballots. Showing up in-person may be the only way to participate in the election.
For people who want to vote but don't have access to safe, reliable transportation (and people avoiding public transportation due to the pandemic) Roll to the Polls offers a socially distant transportation mode.
According to the Pew Research Center, three percent of registered voters (equal to about 4.6 million people today) cited "transportation challenges" as a deterrent to voting in the 2016 election.
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"If voting is one of our most fundamental rights as citizens, then ensuring that riders have easy access to their ballot boxes is one of our most fundamental responsibilities as mobility providers," Rebecca Hahn, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Bird, said in a blog post. "Lack of access to transportation should neither prevent nor prohibit anyone from voting."
The pandemic has exacerbated mobility challenges for many, but the micromobility industry is doing its part to help. In Detroit, a program offers to match essential workers with electric bikes and scooters. Lime and CitiBike also have given free rides to healthcare providers and essential workers. And, when cities suspended public transportation services during the George Floyd police brutality protests, micromobility was for many the next best option.
To find the complete list of micromobility providers offering free or reduced rids, you can visit the Roll to the Polls website.
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