Regulating scooter use could be an option - Cull

Lime scooters are parked on the footpath in George St, Dunedin. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Lime scooters are parked on the footpath in George St, Dunedin. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says bylaws to make e-scooters safer could be considered.

Some city councillors have expressed concerns about the vehicles and are angry over a perceived lack of consultation.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Dunedin City Council staff and the company on December 18, but Lime appears to have breached the provision that its scooters would be brought in overnight.

Mr Cull said the council had ''no say'' in the arrival of Lime scooters on January 10 and staff advised the only thing to do was to meet Lime and create a voluntary agreement.

''Given that we didn't have any jurisdiction to limit where they go or if they were set up here, it was felt that an MOU could enhance safety and public understanding.''

Lime said in a statement yesterday it aimed ''to remove all scooters from the street every night. Our ops team and juicers work together and pick up the vast majority of scooters''.

However people have been seen using scooters overnight, and one ''juicer'' - paid to recharge scooters - said this week it was up to juicers whether they brought them in.

If Lime was not taking scooters off the streets, the council would be asking it to explain, Mr Cull said.

A bylaw regulating scooter use was an option if Lime did not comply with the voluntary agreement, but the council would have to prove one was required.

Aside from January 18, when a woman on a scooter sustained serious injuries in an accident with a truck, the launch of the scooters in the city had gone ''surprisingly well''.

Most problematic was that the scooters could be used on footpaths without restrictions.

Licensing the scooters, so Lime would have to pay to use the footpath, was not an option for the council as it could not do so under its bylaws, a council statement said on Thursday.

Mr Cull described the scooters as a ''wonderful innovation'' but said NZ Transport Agency's regulations on them - for instance, over helmets- needed an overhaul to make them consistent.

Cr Doug Hall claimed Lime had breached other provisions of the agreement including having 1.2m clearance on the footpath.

He had seen some parked in such a way that mobility scooters users were forced on to the uneven edge of the kerb near pedestrian crossings.

Cr Rachel Elder said there were ''health and safety issues to be addressed'' when it came to scooters on the pavement, such as the ''fear factor'' for pedestrians.

Crs Hall, Lee Vandervis and Jim O'Malley said while they knew the scooters were coming at some point, they first heard about the agreement with the council was after it had been signed.

''The councillors seem to be the last to know most things that are going on,'' Cr Hall said.

Cr Vandervis said he had written a letter of complaint to the Minister of Local Government about the MOU as well as other incidents in which council staff had not consulted councillors.

''It's absolutely appalling, I think.''

However the council statement on Thursday said there had been briefings in October and November letting councillors know the MOU was being prepared, which was backed up by Mr Cull and some other councillors.

In hindsight, the council agreed it would have been ''good to circulate the MOU to councillors earlier''.

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz

Comments

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Cull how come the Gold Coast council could have a say on them here, yet again you are back peddling, Total rubbish Cull the Council could haves stopped these being on the towns streets. Where is this MOU you all talk about lets see it does it even exist. These should not have been released in Dunedin or any other city until the trial was completed in other cities in NZ. Once again Cull you have let the people of Dunedin Down.

Of course the MOU exists, don't you even read the news stories? ODT have been given a copy of it as reported earlier.

And just because a council in Australia can do something, doesn't mean a council New Zealand can do the same thing. Our laws are not always the same, and Councils must operate within the laws.

Although I'm generally in favour of the scooters I am not in favour of being passed on the pavement at speed by a young man, who let's say displayed a certain 'attitude', as he wizzed by so fast and so near to me that I felt his slipstream. Their use on pavements should be banned with immediate effect before someone is seriously injured. I'm afraid that they will become a menace in the hands of idiots.

No matter how heavy you regulate scooter's, you will still get idiots, no matter how smart they think they are, that will use them.

Not if regulation includes penalties.

Just like with cars? No idiots driving are there?
What regulations do you propose?...
No scooters? What about kids playing on them?
No motorized scooters then? But what about the road legal ones we've had for decades?
No scooters above a certain speed? Who's going to measure and enforce that. I see speeding cars every day.
No scooters on the footpath? Often that's the best place to be. Most Dunedin footpaths have very few people on them.
Not saying regulations are useless. Just that the solutions are usually more complex than many people think.

It's true that you will always encounter idiots but with the right bylaw in place if you encounter them on a footpath they could be fined or charged.

and banned from. using lime scooters via the app, if caught whilst banned then taken to court

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