As it awaits the fate of its Auckland trial, Lime faces wall-to-wall fury in reader comments, and many sections of social media.

The San Francisco-based e-scooter company, bankrolled by Uber and Google, is on a three-month trial street-trading licence, which expires on January 14.

Publicly, Auckland Council says a decision will be made next week - although an internal email obtained by the Herald makes it seem like a fait accompli that the trial will be extended to the end of March. Beyond that, things are up in the air.

After the end of March, Lime scooters could disappear from our streets, get a permanent trading licence or a licence with conditions, such as the 10km/h speed limit floated by Mayor Phil Goff.


Regarding the trial extension, Lime's APAC Director of Government Affairs, Mitchell Price said: "Auckland has really taken to our smart mobility transport option with over 500,000 trips since launch.

"We look forward to working with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to make Lime a permanent transport choice for moving around Auckland/NZ."

Christchurch City Council also has a Lime trial under way which expires at the end of February. Its ratepayers are being given the opportunity to provide feedback online.

A number of Aucklanders angry they couldn't find an equivalent form on Auckland Council's website emailed the Herald instead. Others vented on LinkedIn and other social media.

Datacom manager Mark Ellis said, "I hate the nanny state. But I've witnessed three big spills on Lime. I've seen people at work hurt, time off work, some serious injuries. And I've personally been hit twice by people on Lime. Not to mention the piles of them that accumulate in doorways and the middle of footpaths."

And while e-scooters have been floated as a way to reduce the number of cars on our roads, Ant Lagan called Lime a solution for "people too lazy to walk or cycle".

Company director Jason Cherrington added, "Reducing traffic is a great idea, reducing walking isn't."

The cost to the taxpayer via hundreds of ACC scooter claims was a common complaint, along with the danger to bystanders.


"A death in the near future would not surprise me. However, I suspect a debilitating head injury will be next," said Lagan, a manager with a safety products company. Earlier, workplace safety advocate Lance Wiggs told the Herald a Lime-related death would only be a matter of time under current rules.

Sunshine Coast resident Gaylene Smith emailed the Herald that she had seen people drinking and scootering during a recent visit to the Viaduct, and suffered several near-misses.
"They are the cockroaches of the footpaths and we hope that when we return in February they will have been wiped out so we can safely walk your beautiful city again," she said.

Many want helmets made compulsory. "They need video recognition that until the said rider can be photographed with a helmet on the scooter will not start, Angie Philp said.

Another common theme is that Lime riders should restrict themselves to cycle lanes - although, technically, scooter riders are not allowed in cycle lanes under current regulations, which say they should ride on the footpath or the road. Lime scooter riders in cycle lanes are a common site in Auckland, with no apparent enforcement on the prohibition.

A regulatory tweak to allow scooters to use cycleways seems sensible. "There are two important conversations the arrival of electric scooters has forced upon cities: 1) regulation and active management of mobility services; and related to this: 2) redesigning urban space to make it easier to get around without a car," said logistics manager Murray Towers.

'Any idiot with a smartphone and daddy's credit card'

Reader Rodney Chan wrote, "I was standing in the middle of the footpath and another pedestrian was about to walk in front of me so I took a step backwards - right into the path of one of these scooters that was barrelling up the sidewalk. I didn't see it coming of course but then one doesn't expect to have vehicles racing around at 25km/h on the footpath."

Chan added, "It's quite clear to me that e-scooters aren't compatible with pedestrians. It takes years to get a driver's licence whereas any idiot with a smartphone and daddy's credit card can rent an e-scooter and then ride it amongst Queen St foot traffic."

"It's my observation that at least 30 per cent or more of the scooter riders are below the age of 18. Many are riding tandem and most don't look like they're in control," Herald reader Patrick Brookman said.

Lime's terms and conditions say a rider needs to be over the age of 18. But many, like Brookman, complain that the company doesn't enforce its own rules. Lime has no staff on the ground in New Zealand, and that emails to the company often generate an automated response.

"I'm not anti-scooter but do have a significant aversion to stupid decisions made solely on the potential of commercial benefits," Brookman said.

Many accused the Auckland Council of profiteering from Lime via its licence or, as many thought, "taking a slice of the pie".

A council spokeswoman says Lime paid $3326 for its licence, with no other financial arrangement beyond that.

For its part, Lime held a safe-scooting summit in December at Eden Park, which it says is part of a $3m initiative to promote awareness about responsible riding.