A couple of days ago Stuff reported that the government was considering limiting the speed of Lime scooters on footpaths to 10 kph, as part of a broader suite of changes.
Work is under way on law changes that will impose a 10kmh speed limit for Lime electric scooters, with the Government set to consult on the new rules early this year…
…But the scooters soon became a topic of controversy, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff ordering an urgent scooter safety report in October after councillor Christine Fletcher was almost hit by a rider.
Goff later raised safety concerns with Transport Minister Phil Twyford. In his letter, he asked that the Ministry of Transport instruct police to pull up “dangerous scooter use” and raised the possibility of a e-scooter speed limit.
Stuff has been provided with a copy of Twyford’s response.
It shows the Government is considering a package of law changes called Accessible Streets, which aim to increase the safety of all users on the footpath.
“Among the proposed measures is a proposed maximum speed limit for all vehicles that are allowed on the footpath,” Twyford wrote.
“I expect that this package will be ready for consultation in early 2019.”
A spokeswoman for duty minister Grant Robertson said the maximum speed limit proposed under Accessible Streets was 10kmh.
If implemented, the limit would apply to Lime scooters being used on the footpath, she said.
This feels like a bit of a ‘knee-jerk’ response and it will be interesting to see the logic and justification behind 10 km/h, rather than a different number. Certainly the most appropriate speed will vary significantly depending on wide, smooth and busy the footpath is. For example, riding a scooter at 20 kph around the far reaches of the viaduct where there are wide footpaths and generally not too many people is probably safer than 10 kph down Queen Street’s busy footpaths. One risk of discouraging scooterers (is that even a word) from using the footpaths is that they will end up riding on the roads and putting themselves in much greater danger.
One silver lining is that if this goes ahead, it will make delivering cycleways – where people can ride their scooters at full speed – even more important. Auckland Transport need to get on with accelerating their cycleway programme.