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Brakes go on e-scooters: Speed limit imposed in parts of Auckland

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 2:40PM
Lime, Wave and newcomer Flamingo are the three e-scooter operators that will participate in the phase two e-scooter trial in Auckland. (Photo / Michael Craig)
Lime, Wave and newcomer Flamingo are the three e-scooter operators that will participate in the phase two e-scooter trial in Auckland. (Photo / Michael Craig)

Auckland Council is putting the brakes on electric scooters by imposing a 15km/h speed limit in parts of the city.

In a statement today Auckland Council announced it will be adding a new e-scooter operator to its second trial, with 175 additional scooters to be released.

Newcomer Flamingo will join Lime, which has been operating in Auckland since October 2018, and Wave which launched its first e-scooters in March.

The Council's second trial of the e-scooter ride-share schemes will run until October 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, newly released ACC stats show nearly 2000 e-scooter injury claims have been made since October, costing taxpayers nearly $1.5m nationwide.

Since their introduction on October 15, there have been a total of 1964 e-scooter related claims made to ACC.

Figures released by the Government agency show these claims have cost the taxpayer $1,458,133, with the lion's share - 932 claims, costing $812,882 - in Auckland.

However, licensing and regulatory compliance general manager Craig Hobbs, who is leading the trial, said he was impressed with the way the programme has progressed since e-scooters were first suggested for Auckland's streets.

Lime said it is committed to providing a safe, clean and accessible transport option for residents and visitors. Photo / Michael Craig

Lime said it is committed to providing a safe, clean and accessible transport option for residents and visitors. (Photo / Michael Craig)

"This time last year, we had barely heard of e-scooter ride-share schemes, let alone anticipated having fleets of e-scooters on our streets and footpaths.

"That work continues in this second phase trial where we will see how three operators share the market over six months," he said.

Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison said AT and the council had prioritised the second trial for two important reasons - one being safety.

"Micro-mobility modes of transport are becoming increasingly popular and are not something we can ignore. Ride-share scooters encourage people to connect with public transport and offer an alternative to cars for short trips.

"We are also seeing more and more privately-owned e-scooters across the city – which confirms that Aucklanders are embracing scooters as a transport mode and that we need to factor this in to the transport equation in our region," he said.

"Secondly, and equally as important, is safety. While we have little influence right now on the rules for where e-scooters can be ridden, how fast they can go and wearing of helmets, we have done as much as we can to promote public safety.

"We will continue to work with operators to incentivise safe rider behaviour; we will monitor compliance with the licence conditions, especially around maintenance, responsible parking and incident management; and we will contribute what we learn, to safety improvements at a national level.

"We are also continuing our advocacy to central government for a national regulatory framework for e-scooters."

The new code of practice will also encourage operators to introduce slow-speed zones via geofencing.

This automatically reduces the scooters' speed in nominated areas, improving the safety of users and pedestrians.

The following areas will be geo-fenced; Takapuna, Devonport, Ponsonby Rd, Jervois Rd, Karangahape Rd, the CBD including Queen St and the waterfront area, Auckland City Hospital precinct, Parnell, Newmarket, Mission Bay, Kohimarama, and St Heliers.

In these slow-speed zones, scooters will slow to 15km/h when entering or starting their journey.

ON AIR: Andrew Dickens Afternoons

12PM - 4PM