Scoot!

For as much noise as they’ve caused, it’s a little surprising that I haven’t written more about the Lime scooter invasion.

Lime scooters are awesome electric scooters. You unlock them with an app on your phone and whiz along at up to about 16 mph. Totally fun. And they do solve the last mile problem for a lot of trips.

But Auckland seems to have been completely overwhelmed by Lime’s famously aggressive rollout team. Nobody figured out the details of how they have been introduced, where you can and can’t ride them (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc), who pays for the (many!) injury claims, who is responsible for maintenance lapses, and so on.

Or rather, Lime figured out all those details and Auckland failed to disagree. So the money goes to the VCs, and the costs stay here. The situation is particularly troubling in NZ, because of the national, tax-funded, no-fault insurance policy we all enjoy. When a private company introduces a dangerous product, their liability is mostly absorbed by the citizenry. That can be balanced by good product regulation, but government missed the mark on this one.

The City Council did take the scooters off the streets last week over safety concerns, but now they’re back. Still fun, but for me the bloom is off the rose, and I’ll be much less enthusiastic about Lime than I was at first.

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