Lime scooter introduction has had mixed response

Since the introduction Lime scooters were launched in Dunedin 10 days ago there has been a lot of free publicity for a commercial enterprise, but not all of it has been good.

It is now common to see clutters of scooters cluttering footpaths in the mornings, but they get scattered during the day. Out and about yesterday there were quite a few being used.

There has been some stupidity. It only took a day for someone to try one down Baldwin Street – I didn’t see it explained how they got it up. The electric scooters don’t do well on hills. I saw someone having to push one up London Street (just off George Street) after giving up trying to power up. There’s a lot of hills in Dunedin, but there’s quite a bit of flat too, especially around the CBD and University and Polytech campuses.

There have been reports of a steady stream of injured riders going to the Emergency Department. This isn’t surprising. I haven’t seen anyone wearing a helmet, and I saw someone riding one wearing jandals, so feet are obviously at risk.

There has been one serious accident that has raised serious questions. An international student was knocked off a scooter by a truck in the early hours of Friday morning – Scooter rider out of surgery, remains serious.

There has been an unconfirmed report that the scooter went through a red light, but regardless of that questions are being asked about being able to use one at night, the scooters don’t have lights and are supposed to be taken off the road at night.

ODT:  Don’t ‘demonise’ Lime scooters over crash – Bidrose

An investigation is ongoing, but the ODT has been told the woman rode through a red light at the intersection and into the path of the truck.

A police spokeswoman would not confirm that, saying the Serious Crash Unit had examined the scene but “we are not able to speculate on the cause of the crash while the investigation is ongoing”.

Lime also refused to answer specific questions about why the scooter was on the street at that hour of the morning.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dunedin City Council that included a requirement for scooters to be removed from public places each evening.

The ODT understands “juicers” — those who collect and charge the battery-powered vehicles — have been told to collect scooters needing charging from 9 o’clock every evening.

All other scooters were to be off the streets by midnight, and were not to be returned again until the following morning.

There have been inevitable reports of pedestrian clashes with scooters on footpaths. This has also been an issue in other places where the scooters have been introduced. And this has prompted calls for speed restrictions.

Stuff:  Government looks set to impose 10kmh Lime scooter speed limit

Work is under way on law changes that will impose a 10kmh speed limit for Lime electric scooters, with the Government set to consult on the new rules early this year.

But the scooters soon became a topic of controversy, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff ordering an urgent scooter safety report in October after councillor Christine Fletcher was almost hit by a rider.

Goff later raised safety concerns with Transport Minister Phil Twyford. In his letter, he asked that the Ministry of Transport instruct police to pull up “dangerous scooter use” and raised the possibility of a e-scooter speed limit.

Stuff has been provided with a copy of Twyford’s response.

It shows the Government is considering a package of law changes called Accessible Streets, which aim to increase the safety of all users on the footpath.

“Among the proposed measures is a proposed maximum speed limit for all vehicles that are allowed on the footpath,” Twyford wrote.

“I expect that this package will be ready for consultation in early 2019.”

A spokeswoman for duty minister Grant Robertson said the maximum speed limit proposed under Accessible Streets was 10kmh.

If implemented, the limit would apply to Lime scooters being used on the footpath, she said.

A spokesman for Goff said the mayor would like to hear from the public on what speed would be appropriate.

10 kmh seems too over the top, I can walk that fast.

I don’t know how they could be just limited to that on footpaths. A blanket 10 kmh limit would possibly stuff the market for Lime.

A speed limit along with compulsory helmet wearing would be more of an issue. And what about requiring safe footwear, and even knee, elbow and hand protection? Scooters could easily be regulated out of contention as a viable transport alternative.

Like anything new the Lime scooters in Dunedin have received a mixed reception. They could be a good thing, but are not without their problems.

 

 

 

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12 Comments

  1. David

     /  20th January 2019

    They work quite well in Christchurch but I was in Auckland last weekend and it gave me a different perspective, its just a bit too busy there in downtown areas especially with the amount of construction going on.
    There were quite a lot of privately owned scooters too.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  20th January 2019

      In some ways I’m looking forward to seeing the various assault charges and bystander cellcam videos, in others, not.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  20th January 2019

        Three more serious prangs, just today. How many will there be before these things are banned from the streets ?

        What has the cost to the rest of us been so far ? It’s our taxes paying for the medical costs.

        Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  20th January 2019

    It only took a day for someone to try one down Baldwin Street – I didn’t see it explained how they got it up

    I would say getting it up there twice pretty obviously made him get it up. 😕
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/109928300/baldwin-st-scooter-rider-reveals-motivation-for-conquering-worlds-steepest-street

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  20th January 2019

      They cost $18 an hour to use. Eek, there will be some very surprised people when the Visa bill arrives.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  20th January 2019

        Especially if they’re still in hospital.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  21st January 2019

          I had no idea that they cost so much ! 18 an hour is extortionate. If someone used one for an hour a day, that’s $90 a week.

          Lime are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, it would seem. At least they don’t charge for an hour, whether you use it all or not.

          Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  20th January 2019

    I heard that they maybe moving to 2-seat electric cars (go-carts) too ?

    Anything to get the ‘gas-guzzling’ polluting cars off the roads.. has to be good, IMHO 🙂

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  20th January 2019

      Not if it means people being killed and injured, surely.

      How about the petrol used to take the injured people to A & E ?

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  20th January 2019

        @kitty

        I hear you… but many folks die/injured daily on the roads; at much higher speeds than Lime scooters & likely these ‘go-carts’ will go

        The lady in Dn Hospital was hit by a truck, not another scooter

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  20th January 2019

          Yes, but she was on a Lime and I’d guess that there will be others. The ‘go carts’ seem to be real cars, not what I was expecting at all.

          Scooters have hit people and injured them quite badly; broken bones are not uncommon.

          Reply
  4. duperez

     /  20th January 2019

    Apropos of the discussions on the site in recent weeks about road deaths:

    Someone on a lime scooter getting wiped out at 1.45am on that part of Cumberland Street by a truck lit up like a Christmas tree, along with some of the other road deaths in the past couple of weeks, might indicate that that the chances of the road toll dropping below 300 look impossible.

    Reply

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