Auckland Council is removing Lime scooters from the streets

Publish Date
Friday, 29 November 2019, 12:21PM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Auckland Council has dumped Lime e-scooters from the streets of the city and replaced the San Francisco-based company with new providers.

Council director of regulatory services Craig Hobbs said following the end of a trial period there are four new operators- Beam, Flamingo, Neuron and Jump.

Lime and Wave have not been successful in gaining new licenses.

The new licenses will come into effect next Tuesday and run for six months. The new operators are allowed to put 3200 scooters on Auckland streets between them.

The first e-scooter trials for licensed began on October 15 last year.

Hobbs said the four new operators had a stronger case, including safety aspects.

"The successful applications included higher quality strategies around influencing user behaviour to improve safety outcomes and reduce potential nuisance," Hobbs said.

"We have also explored a number of enhanced initiatives, including the deactivation of scooters outside of licensed hours, a curfew in entertainment areas and parking enforcement and initiatives.

"This highlights our focus on 'nuisance factors' around e-scooter use and our commitment to balancing the increasing popularity of micro-mobility with the needs of non-users."

He said council had had a brief conversation with Lime about the decision this morning and in time would have an in depth conversation with the company.

Photo / Getty Images

 

Flamingo is a Wellington-based company, Beam and Neuron are based in Singapore and Jump is owned by Uber.

Hobbs said it is hoped the NZ Transport Agency will come up with new legislation in the next six months to address issues around speed, helmets and where e-scooters can be used.

At present, council cannot control these issues.

One person has been killed and more than 2000 riders have been injured when riding the popular scooters, which were launched in Auckland in October last year.

Toben John Hunt, 23, died after an accident on a Lime scooter in downtown Auckland in September.

A study looking at e-scooter injuries requiring surgery at Auckland City Hospital found 21 patients needing 23 operations at a total cost of $404,925 between October 15 last year and February 22.

Injuries ranged from head fractures to broken leg, ankle and knees.

The paper The Cost of Electric-Scooter Related Orthopaedic Surgery found the popularity of e-scooters was creating a burden on taxpayers and healthcare systems.

Claims for ACC e-scooter injuries also topped $4.3 million with more than 2000 claims between October 2018 and July 2019. Auckland saw the most claims with 1271, totalling $1,767,480.

Main causes of injuries, according to ACC claims, were loss of balance and injuries to the knee, hand, wrist and arm.

Speaking ahead of the first anniversary of their use here, Mitchell Price, Lime's head of government relations Asia Pacific, told the Herald safety was a big issue.

"Safety is remaining our first priority, and throughout the past 12 months we've worked with all stakeholders, NZTA, Minister of Transport, all the councils across New Zealand to create a safe riding environment ... and we continue and remain committed to do so."
And at the time Price said a new "bigger and safer" Lime generation 3.0 scooter, currently being tested in the United States, would be put onto New Zealand streets sometime next year.

Lime scooters are being dumped from Auckland's streets. Photo / Michael Craig.

Photo / Michael Craig - NZH

 

The mooted new scooters come with a replaceable battery in the baseboard and LED face with Google map integration for navigation.

"It's bigger, it's safer and it's stronger," Price said.

"It's the world-leading device and it's something we're committed to bringing to New Zealand."

While Lime hasn't gone as far as providing helmets Price said the company be making a greater push on getting riders to wear them.

"Lime recommends riders wear helmets and provides them for free to those participating in its 'First Ride' rider safety training events (available for new or first-time riders).
"Overseas we have partnered with helmet companies to offer discounted products to riders and are working on expanding these programmes to more cities around the world including NZ."

A global Lime survey has found it has had a massive uptake in New Zealand, with 61.3 per cent of Auckland riders using the motorised scooter to commute to and from work compared to 37 per cent globally.

This article was originally published at nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission