Lime scooters returning to Auckland, Dunedin, but remain controversial

After being suddenly removed from Auckland and Dunedin streets a week ago Lime scooters are set to return to the streets and cycleways and footpaths.

ODT:  Lime scooters back next week after assurances

Lime e-scooters have been given the all-clear to return to Dunedin streets but fans may have to wait until next week for their next trip.

Lime voluntarily withdrew its e-scooters in Dunedin last week, hours after Auckland temporarily suspended the company’s licence to operate, citing concerns about random brake lock-ups causing injuries to riders.

Auckland Council also announced yesterday it would allow Lime to operate again, providing it meets certain conditions regarding reporting safety incidents and concerning scooter maintenance.

Representatives from Lime and the Dunedin City Council met yesterday to discuss the e-scooters’ return after their voluntary removal more than a week ago, due to safety concerns.

Council community services general manager Simon Pickford said Lime had agreed verbally to a set of five conditions and once they agreed in writing the council would be happy for the scooters to return.

Conditions included reporting any serious safety incidents, anywhere in the world, to the council within 48 hours, the weekly inspection of e-scooters used in Dunedin and more information about safety and rider behaviour.

“Once we have written confirmation that they agree to these conditions, Lime scooters will be back on Dunedin streets.”

When the Lime scooters first arrived inn Dunedin earlier this year they were welcomed by some as a revolutionary wave of green transport. I saw them parked and ridden around town, and saw no problems apart from them being parked in  some silly places – someone left one right outside the entrance to the building I work in one morning. That isn’t the scooter’s fault, it was an inconsiderate rider.

How much have they changed things? Apart from helping some people get around town and annoying some other people it’s hard to judge.

They seem to have been used by people for fun or as an alternative to walking. I have seen little sign of them replacing cars for commuting. I saw one guy ride one into a central city car park, get of fit and get in his big black SUV and drive away. There would be far more environmental good from reversing the shift to bigger vehicles often transporting just one person.

Apart from the technical problems and accidents I think the main problem has been the sudden change – 300 hundred scooters appeared literally overnight. Usage and acceptance takes time to adapt and evolve.

It’s impossible to judge their effect on traffic in Dunedin, because they were introduced here at a time of major seasonal change. They arrived at one of the quietest times of year, the January holidays.

At the end of January, early February there is always a big increase in traffic when schools start back. And that builds considerably through February as tertiary students return in force. In the last two weeks traffic has been at least as bad as I have seen it in central Dunedin.

Maybe a few hundred scooters will help, but I suspect the (minority) stupid use will keep being highlighted, some of the moaning about cyclists will divert to moaning about scooterists, the council will think about changing laws and redesigning everything yet again for a small number of road users, and life will adapt one way or another.

One (small) change I have noticed that I haven’t seen before – I have seen a few people riding their own scooters. If I used one I’d prefer my own to taking a Lime lottery.

Microscooters advertise two:

  • Emicro Falcon (compact) $1799.95, range 10 km, charge time 1 hour
  • Emicro Condor $1995.95, range 20 km, charge time 3 hours

If I used the Falcon to go to work I’d have to charge it during the day for the return trip. The Condor would make the distance on an overnight charge, but it probably woukldn’t make it up small but steep hill at my work end (not a major), and a large steep hill at my home end, going up about 100 metres. A harbour cycleway would be good too ride, but having to come across town and traffic (main street and state highway north and south included) would be a pain and hazardous (the cycleways only run north-south).

Blacksheeptrading have e-scooters as cheap as $950:

  • RIDE FASTER & TRAVEL FURTHER The Ninebot KickScooter by Segway (ES2) can go up to 25km/h and travel up to 25 km. Its rear shock absorption ensures a comfortable ride and the customizable ambient and rear lights are not only fun, but allow riders to be seen in low light.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & FOLDABLE The one-click folding system allows this lightweight electric KickScooter to be carried on public transportation, stored in your car and more. It conveniently goes anywhere.

Related (ODT): Residents must adapt: Staynes

Dunedin’s one-way cycle lane network and subsequent changes to traffic and parking are things residents will have to adapt to, officials say.

The NZ Transport Agency and Dunedin City Council project was officially opened yesterday, on budget at $8million.

Other cycleway projects in Dunedin have gone way over budget. One redesigned intersection had to be reredesigned after it was found that fire engines coukldn’t negotiate it.

Dunedin deputy mayor Chris Staynes said whenever there was a perception the council was taking something away from motorists “we all get bombarded by unhappy people”.

He said people would have to adapt.

Adapt to more traffic delays and inconvenience so a few can ride more safely on some routes only?

This week the Otago Daily Times counted 90 cyclists using the lane running south on Castle near Dundas St in one hour between 7.50am and 8.50am, and 38 in the same time period travelling north towards Stuart St on Cumberland St.

From what I have seen usage has increased, from hardly any to a few, especially on Anzac Avenue which had all car parks over two blocks replaced with a painted cycleway on both sides.

A count of cyclists on the lanes this week showed they are being used, but NZTA regional relationships director Jim Harland said he would like to see more.

Mr Harland described that as a good start, but hoped it would get “a lot higher”.

The cycle lanes had only been built recently, and he hoped the numbers would increase.

After spending millions of dollars they ‘hope’ numbers will increase?

 

 

 

17 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  March 2, 2019

    Anything …. ANYTHING but walking … Why?

    Because walking is a non-monetarized and therefore a subversive activity.

    There’s just no money in it!

    • Corky

       /  March 2, 2019

      For the sake of humanity please tell me you are jesting, Parti ?

      Have you ridden a scooter, Parti? I perceive it as a very fast walk, given there is basically nothing in front of you apart from fresh air.

      Surely that’s worth paying a bob for?

      • PartisanZ

         /  March 2, 2019

        I guess if the ‘bob’ I pay assures that lime scooters pay their share of ACC levies, which one imagines might be quite high, to provide those injured with emergency and medical assistance, so they can get back on the scooter and pay more bobs and get places faster and be more productive and efficient … all will be “well” … (in the capitalist sense of ‘diseased wellness’) …

        But hey … I’m describing a money-go-round …

        • Corky

           /  March 2, 2019

          I listened to the spokesman for Lime on talkback. Lime has approached the government for talks on a variety of levies and charges they are willing to pay..or at least negotiate on.

          • Gezza

             /  March 2, 2019

            It just seems silly to me to pay all this money to jump on a Lime Scooter when you could just wear a home made sign that says DORK and get the same result.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 2, 2019

              $18 an hour; hardly a ‘bob’, and it won’t be the same exercise as a fast walk that costs nothing and gives the body a free workout.

              I agree about the DORK sign. Perhaps, though, they could be made compulsory for LImies.

              Why can’t these pests be obliged to ride on the outside edge of the footpath, no more than one abreast ? I can’t see why people should ‘have to get used to’ being bowled by them and generally suffer the inconvenience of these scooters.

  2. Gerrit

     /  March 2, 2019

    Problem with the scooters (and bike share) is the clutter. Public access ways are blocked by not having designated spaces to leave or retrieve the scooters (or bikes).

    Will New Zealand cities get as bad as the Chinese ones where oversupply, too many start ups, irresponsible users and lack of infrastructure for parking and storage, cause huge problems. A great idea totally out of control.

    Worth a look.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/bike-share-oversupply-in-china-huge-piles-of-abandoned-and-broken-bicycles/556268/

  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  March 2, 2019

    I wonder how many fat middle aged women ride the scooters.
    Young men, trendy men, a few young athletic women
    but how many middle aged fat women?
    Probably none.
    Women use cars to go to work, do shopping, pick up their mom or the kids
    So women drive cars.
    Young girls wont be seen dead on a bike/ nor will they wear a rain coat ever.
    It’s a male thing like jet ski’s and skate boards (who should demand = rights)
    Short lived male fad.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 2, 2019

      Jetskis are probably a compensation for…well, you can guess.

      When I was at school, we did ride bikes but raincoats were the height of uncool. That still seems to be the case; I’d see the girls from the local high school walking in the rain, big blue thighs on view if they were Pakeha, big brown ones if they were Maori. Not all the thighs were big, but there were many that were and as the girls shortened their skirts, they were not flattering to some. I do see girls riding bikes, but don’t know if schoolgirls do.

  4. Gezza

     /  March 2, 2019

    I’m still waiting expectantly for a series of Herald & Stuff & tv news showings of cellcam videos of punch ups involving short-tempered people hit or just irritated by Lime Scooter riders.

    • Corky

       /  March 2, 2019

      I thought riding on the footpath ( bikes) was illegal? While cops rarely enforce this law nowdays, it would be interesting to see where the law stands if someone mounted a legal challenge. I can’t see how scooters are that different from bikes.
      .

      • Gezza

         /  March 2, 2019

        I thought riding bikes on the footpath was illegal too, until we had a problem around here a few years ago (one year) with too many kids on bikes riding on the footpath in our street (which has a footpath only on one side) & bowling over a few elderly women who walk to and from the village for exercise, or to socialise weekly with other widows – one of them a neighbour, who is almost blind from macular degeneration, & quite deaf.

        When I rang police comms to confirm this was illegal & that I was within my rights to tell these kids to get off the bloody footpath & ride on the road, I got told: “Well, not necessarily, it depends … ” & not much useful information beyond that, except that I couldn’t legally just tell kids to get off the footpath & ride on the road.

        • Gezza

           /  March 2, 2019

          Here’s the official NZTA cyclist’s code, but it’s pretty grey as to what’s a “shared path”

          https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/cyclist-code/about-cycling/cyclist-responsibilities/

          • Corky

             /  March 2, 2019

            Well, if there is a law, according to that link, it’s pretty well redundant. I have noticed in my area new footpaths, where possible, are wide multi use paths.
            Going back to the future. I grew up with similar wide ‘hotmix’ covered footpaths.

            • Gezza

               /  March 2, 2019

              Most of us biked to school in the 70’s. It was a 5 mile trip from where we lived. A couple of long steep hills where you ended up dismounting and walking for steepest part. There was no bike riding allowed on street footpaths. Traffic Officers would stop and tell you to get off the footpaths. I don’t know when things changed. Maybe it varies from council to council.

      • NOEL

         /  March 2, 2019

        Corky e scooters are low powered vehicles .
        https://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/vehicle-types/low-powered-vehicles/

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 2, 2019

          It’s illegal here, but some pests do it. It can be a problem on inner-city streets (a blimmin nuisance, really) as some riders are not very considerate.

          We used to whiz down one of Wanganui’s steepest streets. You couldn’t pay me enough to make me do that now.