The future of Lime scooters in Tauranga is set to be decided next month, with some residents calling for designated parking stands.
Since Tauranga City Council's trial of the e-scooter rental service began in October 2020, nearly 70,000 people have had a go but opinions are split on whether they should be allowed to stay.
ACC data shows general e-scooter injuries have risen across the Bay of Plenty region since the trial started.
In 2020 there were 89 injuries, rising to 142 in 2021. ACC does not record whether the scooter involved in an injury was owned or rented.
There were also six concussions/brain injuries in 2021 and none in 2020.
The most common injuries were to soft-tissue, with 42 in 2020 and 75 in 2021.
Via the Bay of Plenty District Health Board communications team, Tauranga Hospital's emergency department clinical lead said e-scooter injuries were not a major source of injuries in the department.
Lime's general manager of New Zealand and Australia Hugo Burt-Morris said there had been a small number of safety incidents, but the "overwhelming majority" of rides were completed safely.
He said the Tauranga trial had been "very successful.", with nearly 70,000 riders taking 226,000 rides in total.
"It has been great to see regular trips and commuting patterns connecting key areas of the city."
Burt-Morris said Lime was sensitive to the needs of non-riders "who want to feel safe on footpaths".
He said Lime used parking incentives, parking zones, proper parking awareness campaigns and audited photos of parking to protect pedestrians.
The Bay of Plenty Times spoke to people in the CBD about the Lime trial.
CBD resident Ravi Ramlagan said he had seen Lime scooters blocking the footpath.
He suggested there should be designated stands for them.
"I think there is a place for them. There's a certain demographic who use them."
Michelle Smart said the scooters were a problem.
"People leave them cluttering up the footpaths," said Smart.
"Wherever they are, they're an eyesore."
Smart had a clear message. "Get rid of them."
Marty and Jeanette Forsman, who were cycling together, said they weren't opposed to e-scooters.
However, they too had an issue with people leaving them carelessly.
"Young people just lay them down wherever they want," said Marty.
"They give 'e-people' a bad name.
"It would be nice to see people learn a bit more about them before they jump on."
Grey Power Tauranga's president Jennifer Custins said Lime should be allowed to stay.
"There are a lot of 50- to 70-year-olds who are actually using the scooters.
"I think they're a good thing, by and large."
She agreed there should be designated parking areas, to "save people just dumping them".
Dr Jean-Paul Thull, a transport academic and executive board member for Living Streets Aotearoa, said in his view e-scooters should be banned from the footpath "as they compromise safety of people with disabilities".
He advocated banning the use of the scooters after dark, and reducing their speed to 10km per hour on busy streets.
Blind Low Vision's chief executive John Mulka was also concerned about how e-scooters could affect those navigating footpaths with white canes or guide dogs.
He was also concerned about the skills of those operating the scooters.
"Oftentimes the person operating the scooter may be relatively new and thus inexperienced in operating the scooter.
"From a safety perspective, not only for the operator but others around, a minimum certification standard should be mandatory."
He said blind and disabled people had "faced significant challenges in communities that have approved the use of e-scooters and unfortunate incidents have occurred as a result".
Gray Southon of the Tauranga Carbon Reduction Group said the scooters made it more convenient to get around the city for bus users.
"In principle, it does make a carless operation more feasible."
But, he said concerns about how scooters mixed with pedestrians and bikes should be carefully considered.
Fellow group member Dr Ian McLean said the scooters had a low carbon footprint.
"The carbon savings are, of course, considerably higher if an ICE [internal combustion engine] car is the alternative."
But, he also had concerns about the lack of infrastructure available in Tauranga for small-wheeled vehicles.
"Bikes and e-scooters need the same infrastructure, and should ideally be separated from both cars and pedestrians."
Tauranga City Council transport infrastructure outcomes manager Mark Burgess said the trial had gone well from the council's perspective. It ended in October but Lime had been given provisional approval to keep operating until a final decision was made.
"People have told us that shared e-scooters provide an additional transport choice to get around, while also providing something fun and enjoyable to do."
He said the council had received around 190 complaints about Lime scooters.
Most were about footpath obstruction, and riders not wearing helmets.
Burgess said the council was working with Lime to solve the issue of blocked footpaths by parked scooters, but emphasised that e-scooters were not allowed to ride in cycle lanes.
"The Ministry of Transport consulted on potential rule changes to allow scooters in cycle lanes last year and we are awaiting a decision on whether those changes will proceed."
The council conducted a community feedback survey in October 2021 regarding the trial. Of the 750 people who responded, Burgess said 55 per cent wanted Lime to stay.
He said staff expected to make a recommendation to the commissioners in mid-February.