Nice Ride Minnesota had a banner September, largely fueled by University of Minnesota students who signed up for the shared bike and scooter service and hopped on.

In the month since classes began, enrollment in Nice Ride For All jumped 54%, marking the highest monthly increase since the program providing discounted memberships for students receiving federal financial aid began in 2021.

More than 3,700 U students now use Nice Ride's fleet of traditional green bikes, electric-assisted bikes and scooters to get to and from class, work, campus events and social outings. In September, students took more than 31,000 rides and accounted for nearly 40% of all rides taken across the system, said Johntuanay Johnson, who leads Lyft's equity outreach efforts in the Twin Cities. Lyft operates Nice Ride.

"We hope to install a culture of bike riding in young people," Johnson said.

For two years, Lyft has marketed Nice Ride for All through outreach efforts at in-person events on campus and civic events such as Minneapolis Open Streets. Lyft also partnered with the U to post information on the school's website about the program, offering a $5 yearly membership. Students and others who qualify as low income can then take unlimited 45-minute trips on the classic green bikes and get discounted e-bike and scooter rides.

Overall, total Nice Ride ridership for the 2022 season is down compared with trips taken in 2021. Bike use dropped from 435,000 trips to 360,000 and scooter use fell from 215,000 trips to 200,000, according to Lyft officials. Some of that is attributed to additional companies that are competing for riders, the company said.

But Nice Ride is flourishing at the U. Nice Ride placed 22 docking stations on or near the Minneapolis campus. Nine of the top 10 busiest stations in the Nice Ride system are on campus, including the station at Harvard and Delaware streets, which was the busiest in the entire city in September, Lyft said.

More than 90% of rides that began or ended at the Harvard station in September were taken by those with Nice Ride for All memberships, and 80% percent of rides taken on the U campus last month were equity members, the data showed.

"Affordable transportation eliminates barriers," Johnson said.

Traffic enforcement numbers

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety last week released results of its Project 20(22), the initiative in which the State Patrol conducted high-visibility saturations over six weekends from May through September to crack down on dangerous driving behaviors.

Troopers issued 2,773 citations to drivers for speeding, 144 to motorists not wearing seat belts and 137 to drivers deemed to be distracted. Troopers also arrested 61 impaired motorists and made arrests in 38 other cases, the department said.

"You do not have to drive our roads for very long to realize the driving behavior exhibited by many motorists is unsafe and unacceptable," said Col. Matt Langer of the State Patrol.