Every newly introduced product is going to have the odd teething problem, and Lime Scooters have proven to be no exception. Since they were released on New Zealand’s streets and pavements last year, Lime Scooters have come in for a healthy dose of media attention regarding safety issues that have seen them recently banned in Auckland and Dunedin.

I was suspicious from the get go – mainly because of the speeds they could achieve and the potential hazard they posed (with users not required to wear a safety helmet).  I was swayed, however by conversations with a number of friends who used them and told me how convenient and cheap they were, and how they saved money on other forms of transport they would usually use. We would all like to do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint, after all.

“There is real value in offering viable alternatives to the modes of transport that currently clog our roads, and every lime scooter user not utilising a car is surely a good thing.”

There is no escaping the fact that they have been rather popular. After the scooters were banned in Auckland last week and Lime contacted users asking them to petition Auckland Council by email,  Stuff reported that: “The message on the Lime app on Saturday states that since the launch of its e-scooters in Auckland last October, Aucklanders had collectively ridden 28 times around the globe. Nearly one million trips had been made on Lime scooters in the past four months, it added. The support email users are being urged to send states nearly 209,343 Aucklanders have “hopped on” the scooters, and many of the trips would have replaced a trip in a car.”

There is real value in offering viable alternatives to the modes of transport that currently clog our roads, and every Lime Scooter user not utilising a car is surely a good thing. We are always looking at ways to improve the ways that those who need to travel, for work, or leisure, can do so. Even Uber has had its fair share of critics but it has been taken up by Kiwis in large numbers and changed the way many of us get about. There is even talks of introducing a service similar to Lime Scooters where users can use an app to locate and drive motor vehicles for however long, or short they need to.

“More than 1300 people have been injured using e-scooters since their introduction to New Zealand in October – totalling $643,337 in Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims, latest figures reveal.”

However, it is always important to ensure that whatever we introduce and use on our roads and streets is safe and that’s where Lime Scooters have failed. Their recent ban came about after a spate of accidents and a concern about a malfunction that was locking their wheels while in motion, resulting in users being thrown off. The Herald reports that the ban has had an effect on injury rates and ACC claims. “More than 1300 people have been injured using e-scooters since their introduction to New Zealand in October – totalling $643,337 in Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims, latest figures reveal. A breakdown of the figures, released to the Herald, shows a dramatic decrease in injuries for last week when compared to previous weeks.”

It’s hard to avoid these numbers – mainly the amount of injured and also the cost in ACC claims. This is even harder to take when our prime minister has joined the debate and questioned whether Lime Scooter are meeting their GST obligations in this country. It seems only fair that the company pays its way.

“I think it would be best though, that their future use requires safety helmets as a mandatory requirement and that a safe maximum speed is applied.”

Lime’s executives in New Zealand have promised to remedy malfunctions on their scooters and to meet demands from councils for safety oversight and maintenance. There will have to be a degree of public trust to be earned back, but personally I would like to see them reintroduced on our streets. I think it would be best though, that their future use requires safety helmets as a mandatory requirement and that a safe maximum speed is applied. Auckland mayor, Phil Goff, stated before council gave approval that that should be 10km/h. If I were him, I’d make that be a condition of their continuing use.