Call for Lime debate to avoid emotion

Briana Dent, of Balclutha Pipe Band, rides a Lime scooter during the 2019 RNZPBA Otago Centre...
Briana Dent, of Balclutha Pipe Band, rides a Lime scooter during the 2019 RNZPBA Otago Centre Octagonal Day contest in the Octagon on Saturday. PHOTO PETER MCINTOSH
The debate over Lime scooters needs to focus on safety, not emotion, a leading safety regulator says.

Garry House, a committee member and chairman for Standards New Zealand, previously held the position of corporate safety manager at Air New Zealand during a 40-year career with the airline.

The Christchurch man now runs his own company, Envirolight International, a hazardous area specialist consultancy and inspection company, as well holding committee roles with Standards New Zealand.

He told the Otago Daily Times he had been discussing the safety of Lime scooters with the company's Australasian representatives.

He had also been in touch with Dunedin writer Lynley Hood, who is the co-convener of the Dunedin Pedestrian Action Network and a trustee of the Visual Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa (Victa).

Dr Hood last week suggested the Dunedin City Council had been "conned by a snake-oil salesman" into allowing e-scooters on to city streets.

She was circulating a petition calling on Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Faafoi to withdraw Lime scooters from public streets until a new approach to their use could be agreed.

A spike in minor and more serious injuries followed the introduction of Lime scooters in Dunedin and other centres.

However, Mr House - speaking in a personal capacity - told the ODT her argument was based on "emotion, not logic".

Scooters and other alternative forms of transport were the way of the future, and the debate needed to focus on ensuring safety, he said.

"We are not going to stop this type of personal transport. What we need to do is make sure it's safe."

He believed crash rates seen immediately following the introduction of Lime scooters to Dunedin and other centres were higher because many people were still learning to ride the new devices.

It was the same when a child first learned to ride a bike, and the crash statistics would settle down within 12 months, he said.

In the meantime, a widespread recall of Lime scooters was not the way to go, he argued.

Although any injuries were to be avoided, cycles and skateboards were bigger problems - causing more injuries - and nobody was suggesting they be recalled, he said.

"You don't hear them coming, either," he said.

The real issue to be tackled was the increasing use of footpaths by different modes of transport.

It was that "bigger picture" that needed to be the focus, rather than singling out one mode of transport, he said.

"That's what we're aiming at. She [Dr Hood] is not helping by picking on one [transport type]," he said.

It was an issue discussed by Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose in the wake of last month's accident involving United States woman Renee Whitehouse.

Dr Bidrose suggested at the time an alternative approach might be to regulate the use of footpaths, cycleways and roads by speed, rather than individual transport types.

That could have everyone travelling below a certain speed - regardless of how they did it - permitted to use footpaths, while those over a certain speed had to use cycleways or - at higher speeds - roads, with helmets.

"That's worthy of some consideration," she said.

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I must say I was feeling a little 'emotional' after a close shave on a south Dunedin pavement last week. I'm obviously wrong to feel that way so thank you for pointing that out to me Mr. House

That this bloke is apparently a regulator tells us all we need to know about the quality of regulation in NZ. First, the reason for focusing on scooters is that, unlike bikes, they're currently (and daftly) allowed on footpaths. Second, Lynley Hood isn't just focusing on scooters — she's previously taken on the issue of allowing cyclists on footpaths as well.

Mr House should follow his own advice and acquaint himself with the facts.

"That's what we're aiming at. She [Dr Hood] is not helping by picking on one [transport type]," he said".
Indeed, and by her using emotive claptrap language ie "snake oil saleman" is not helping.
Remember it is not the scooter that is the cause of those injuries but the operator who cannot use the scooter properly, much like motor vehicle accidents. The vehicle itself doesn't cause the accident but the driver.

'Snake oil salesmen' is an appropriate expression' for those who come selling something which is a fake. They are not, as Lime say, a healthy means of transport reducing carbon emissions. They are for thrill seekers-those same people who would keep healthier if they walked or jogged. Scooters are driven by carbon producing vehicles all over the city to be delivered and re-charged. So this multinational company's staff are well named as 'snake oil salesmen'. Limes are dangerous because they are not regulated or controlled.

Why have a debate over Lime scooters and possibly create another bill for the Rate payers of Dunedin payable to "Invirolight International, the hazardous area specialist consultancy", How about Bidrose, Cull and those within the DCC involved at releasing the beasts onto Dunedin streets do there jobs or should have done there jobs right before the Release. Bidrose and Cull need to stand up and be held accountable and make a decision for Dunedin good or Bad. If part of the decision is to temporary recall the beasts until Cull and Bidrose make a decision, introduce a bylaws and publish and enforce rules and regulations then so be it. At least the elderly will be safe in the mean time if they are withdraw them, and I'll not have to fly home to NZ to see my elderly mother in Hospitial who may have been hit by a Lime. Cull, Bidrose stop backpedaling on the decision you made and sort it

'However, Mr House told the ODT her argument was based on "emotion, not logic".'
That is such a put down and one women have had to put up with with for years. Actually I feel a bit emotional as I write and that emotion is anger! I bet the men, women and children who are getting bowled over or having near misses were emotional as they fell or needed help. This company is multinational and like tobacco companies will stop at nothing to encourage/pay so called 'experts' to counter the obvious truth.

Mr House, of Christchurch, will know all about Dunedin conditions. So good is he at ad hominem (calling a woman community leader/ prominent NZ writer 'emotional'), 'e 'e ..should be on Social Media.

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