SA-BEST wants the brakes put on e-scooters trial until Lime proves they are safe
SA BEST MLC Frank Pangallo is demanding the State Government and Adelaide City Council immediately halt the trial of Lime electric scooters until the company behind the venture can prove they are safe.
Frank’s call comes after Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington pulled the scooters off their streets and follows reports of more than 30 people being seriously hurt and 150 incidents caused by a braking fault that locks up the wheels, sending riders flying.
Californian-based Lime was forced to halt operations in Switzerland due to a similar braking fault.
E-scooters are banned on all footpaths at the popular Californian beach sides of Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
So far, more than 1200 injury claims for e-scooters have been recorded by the New Zealand Accident Compensation Authority since they were introduced in October last year.
There have been 300 injury reports in Queensland where Lime also operates.
Lime has admitted a software glitch has caused the e-scooters to suddenly brake without warning and says it is trying to urgently fix the problem with a “global patch”.
“They have agreed to pull them in New Zealand but we’ve heard nothing from the company running them here about any potential danger to users. That’s not good enough,” Frank said.
“The e-scooters are the same from what I have seen, so the State Government and Adelaide City Council needs to follow New Zealand’s lead and have them removed until they can be demonstrated to be safe,” he said.
“At a top speed of 15 km/h, e-scooters can be a danger to users and pedestrians travelling on footpaths. With so many safety concerns, I don’t know why the State Government needed to rush this trial so it could be a curious feature during The Fringe.”
Franks said police had already issued several infringement notices in the first week of operation and expected many more as the trial continued.
He said he had also seen riders on city streets carelessly weaving in and out of traffic and others riding without a helmet.
“There is also no way of telling if riders have consumed drugs or alcohol. How do you effectively monitor that kind of reckless activity?” Frank asked.
“While they seem to be a cool, innovative and a cheap transport solution, a lot of questions remain about legal responsibility as they do not require to be registered,” he said.
“If someone is injured, are they able to sue for compensation? Who do they sue and who covers those costs?
“I also think 15km/h is way too quick for a footpath and consideration should be given to restricting them to 10km/h.
“Safety needs to be the number one consideration here and until the operators can prove to authorities their technology doesn’t pose a risk, the scooters should be pulled from the streets.”
Pedestrian Council of Australia Chairman, Harold Scruby, says e-scooters have no place on footpaths.
Frank said unhappy city business owners reported seeing e-scooters carelessly abandoned in the city without helmets and were concerned there would be a repeat of the dockless bike sharing fiasco where hundreds of yellow Ofo bikes were found dumped in streets, parks and in the River Torrens by disrespectful hirers.
“While it is a clever innovation in the gig economy, this type of equipment-sharing is still a risky business model,” Frank said.
“Not only do the scooters have to rely on their technology to work faultlessly, but they are also counting on the trust of users to respect hired property.”