Two scoots forward, one scoot backward

The use of relatively environmentally friendly electric scooters has surged in the last couple of years, mainly due to scooters for hire in many cities. Lime scooters arrived in Dunedin over a year ago, and it’s common to see them scattered over the city parked and lying on footpaths, and while not prolific on roads they must be being used.

They have not been without problems, in particular injuries of riders who crash. There has also been concerns about the use of scooters on footpaths, posing inconvenience and dangers to pedestrians.

The Government is now trying to address this by looking at restrictions on scooters, in particular limiting their speed to 15 km/h. This may make sense when scooting on footpaths, but it would seem a backward step in cycle lanes where bikes go much faster.

Beehive: Bid for safer footpaths

The Government is looking at ways to make footpaths more pedestrian friendly as new forms of transport such as e-scooters change the way people get around.

It’s looking at:

  • Clarifying that pedestrians and people in wheelchairs have right of way on the footpath
  • Putting in a speed limit of 15km/h (about running speed) and a width limit of 75cm for transport devices used on the footpath
  • Allowing e-scooters and other transport devices to use cycle lanes

“This package looks at how we can make our streets safer for those going from A to B, particularly young children when they are learning to ride bikes, and ensuring our road rules reflect real life,” Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said.

“How we travel around our streets and footpaths is changing as more Kiwis choose to walk, cycle, and use new forms of mobility like e-scooters.

“New transport technologies like e-scooters are convenient, fun and help ease congestion, but we need to a balanced approach to ensure pedestrians retain priority on our footpaths.

Safety of pedestrians is important – but I don’t know whether there have been increased injuries of pedestrians due to the use of scooters.

And, limiting the speed of scooters on footpaths to 15 km/h may make some sense, it doesn’t make sense to also limit their speed to jogging pace on cycle lanes.

Other minor changes in the package to simplify and clarify road rules include:

  • Categorising vehicles to reflect changes in technology
  • Improving the safety of people walking, cycling and using micro-mobility devices by clarifying a number of give way rules
  • Giving  buses priority when exiting bus stops on roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less
  • Clarifying the powers of road controlling authorities in relation to parking on berms.

Yesterday National announced a policy that would try to reduce regulations.

The consultation will be open from 9 March to 22 April 2020.

“Everyone has a right to feel safe on the road and close passes at speed are not only scary, they can be fatal,” Julie Anne Genter said.

Are they fatal? Have any pedestrians been killed by scooters? Or, Genter refers to roads, does she mean the speed of cars versus already slower scooters?

Safety is obviously an important consideration, of pedestrians, scooter riders and people in vehicles. Encouraging people to walk, scoot or pedal is a big thing these days.

But more pedestrians, scooters and bikes could cause congestion and safety problems.

And if they over-regulate it may deter people from using scooters.

I have looked into the practicality and economics of getting a scooter for commuting. Limiting speeds to 15 km/h would rule that option out for me.

‘Accessible Streets’ rules package consultation document www.nzta.govt.nz/accessible-streets-consultation

Leave a comment

17 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  10th March 2020

    Its not stable enough to go faster than 15 k/hr. Bikes have large 26 in wheels which provide stability at higher speeds and riders sit on seats and have more control with handle bars.
    Scooters are exactly that , low speed vehicles due to their designs.
    If you want to commute at higher speeds get a bike , an electric bike and ride like the wind

    Reply
    • If the scooter speed was limited to 15 km/h owners and stockists of most e-scooters would likely be quite disappointed.

      The 8 Best Electric Scooters In New Zealand

      Inokim OX Super – Max speed up to 46kph
      Zoom Stryder Ex – Top speed up to 35km/h (depending on rider weight/terrain/battery etc)
      Matt Black eRYD Scooter – Maximum speed of 25kms/h
      Mi Electric Scooter Pro (Xiaomi) – Average speed is 20+km/hour and can do more than 25 Km
      Zukboard City – Goes for a max speed of 30 kph
      Mercane Wide Wheel 1000w – Clocking in at an impressive top speed of 35km/h
      Evolv Pro 2000w – This beast has 1000W dual drive motors (2000w total output) within the front and rear wheels, combined with the powerful LG lithium-ion battery enabling the EVOLV Pro to reach a speed of 65 km/h.

      https://www.topreviews.co.nz/best-electric-scooters-new-zealand/

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  10th March 2020

        Quoted top speeds are pointless. Its the old story , the faster you go the greater the injury, when not if. you come off in an accident, even more if you hit something.
        The footpaths arent a safe space for pedestrians with scooters whizzing past much greater than 15km/hr . if someone comes out of a driveway, etc.
        Im very surprised you have the speed fetish for these flimsy things

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  10th March 2020

        I suspect these speed claims are not very relevant on NZ’s hilly terrain. They’ll probably struggle uphill and do death dives downhill.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  10th March 2020

          They may be Rolls-Canardlys in some places.

          I see a lot of them in Hamilton, but very few in use. I found it unnerving in Auckland that if one stepped out of the way of one coming towards one, there was likely to be another one coming up behind. They’re a menace.

          Reply
      • NOEL

         /  10th March 2020

        NZTA says
        An electric scooter is designed in the style of a traditional push scooter, with a footboard, two or three wheels, a long steering handle and an electric auxiliary propulsion motor. In order to meet the requirements for a low-powered vehicle, the wheels must not exceed 355mm and the motor must have a maximum power output not exceeding 300W.

        Presumably anything above that is a vehicle?

        Reply
  2. Corky

     /  10th March 2020

    Cor!!..the Pro Plus has a weight limit of 150kgs. Weight is something many buyers don’t take into account at purchase time. If this beast is available in NZ…it won’t be for much longer…it is to anti socialist. It speaks of power, freedom and status. All things that belong to the RIGHT. I want one.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  10th March 2020

      An electric scooter is a status symbol of the left climate nutters and fellow travellers ..pun!

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  10th March 2020

        Pro Plus seem to be readily available here. They’re standard scooters by the look of them.

        I must admit that if I weighed 150kg, I’d be going on a diet rather than rejoicing that there were scooters that could take that without breaking down. Poor Corky !

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  10th March 2020

        I can’t see the Pro Plus for sale in NZ. Could Kitty please point out a place of sale? I’m really interested in buying one.

        Of course New Zealand is a country of big people. At the gym I see well muscled men who would easily top 130kgs. Then we have down force that is multiplied when you hit a bump and other rough area. Of course a 150 kg weight limit allows for two up riding, as a mother
        I see daily does with her young toddler who attends school.

        Poor Kitty. That rush to point score and denigrate always seems to backfire.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  10th March 2020

          The biggest All Black is under 130kg. There must be some giants at that gym.

          Two people should never be on an electric scooter. It’s dangerous and probably illegal; it’s against the rules of the companies who rent them out.

          No, I won’t tell you where to buy the scooter that would let you go on it weighing 150kg, I am not your personal shopper. Try Google.

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  10th March 2020

          Hmmm…I won’t push the issue. I like to let people save face.

          Reply
      • Corky

         /  10th March 2020

        ”An electric scooter is a status symbol of the left climate nutters and fellow travellers ..pun!”

        One that goes for 65 Km an hour, and is faster to the 60km mark than your car , is made for a RIGHTY.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  10th March 2020

          Made for a right idiot, more like. Anyone who goes that speed on a scooter is asking to be killed or injured, or to kill or injure someone else.

          Reply

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