7 Nov 2018

E-scooters not as dangerous as reported, council told

5:33 pm on 7 November 2018

Christchurch City councillors have come out in defence of the Lime e-scooters, saying safety concerns are nothing but a beat up.

No caption

Lime e-scooters have been a popular mode of transport in Christchurch and Auckland but have caused numerous injuries from crashes Photo: Supplied

California based company Lime dropped 400 of the scooters in the city three weeks ago that could be hired by people using an app.

Since then there had been a spike in injuries due to crashes - 38 as of last week across Christchurch and Auckland, the first two cities in the country to get them.

The Christchurch Council received its first update from staff today, three weeks into the three-month long trial of the electric scooters.

Latest ACC figures showed 66 people injured themselves on e-scooters in the first two weeks of them hitting the streets in the two main centres, including lacerations, punctures and concussions.

But Christchurch City councillors were today shown figures demonstrating the new technology was relatively safe.

These covered the first week of the trial and compared injuries attributed to e-scooters, sitting at 14, compared to injuries to those using old fashioned push scooters over the same period, sitting at about 30.

Councillor Aaron Keown said the risk had been overstated in the media.

"The only fact is there's a lot of fun police in Christchurch that like whinging about things because people love to knock other people getting out and having a good time. The injury statistics clearly show that it's not that bad and I text somebody in police traffic before to find out how many fines they had given out for people doing stupid things on scooters and the number is zero."

Mr Keown said people needed to take personal responsibility rather than penalising the majority for the actions of a few idiots.

"It's a bit of Darwinism as well. You know we've all knocked our teeth out doing something stupid and you usually learn from that. I didn't ask for the hydro slide to be banned when I lost my teeth and it's still there. Just don't stand up going backwards down a hydro slide."

However action was still being taken to address safety concerns with the setting up of a reference group including council, police, Age Concern and the Blind Foundation, to discuss any problems.

It would meet for the first time on Thursday.

Lime Scooters also appeared to be getting the message and was working on a so-called Safety Summit to be held in Auckland and Christchurch in the near future.

Regardless, councillor Pauline Cotter was hopeful they would become a permanent fixture in Christchurch.

"I think this summer we will see a lot more active travel and this is actually helping to get everybody out on their bikes as well - and on scooters and walking," she said.

Councillor Mike Davidson asked officials whether the council could make some money out of Lime's popularity by charging a rental fee.

Council staff told him they would look in to this as part of their report on whether the scooters should remain in the city beyond their trial period which finishes at the end of February.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs