Auckland Council representatives have met with electric scooter company Lime, demanding clearer information on malfunction issues and guarantees around people's safety.

The council says it will consider the company's response before making further decisions about the future of the scooters, which could include whether to extend the company's operating licence which is due to expire at the end of next month.

Auckland man Liam Thompson was injured riding a Lime on Friday night after the front wheel locked up and he flew over the handlebars.

The 27-year-old suffered a broken jaw and suffered cuts and grazes all over his body.


At least two other men have been injured riding the e-scooters in similar incidents where the front wheels have locked up.

A Lime spokeswoman told the Herald they had "recently became aware of an operational issue affecting certain scooters".

The investigation was still ongoing but the affected scooters had been removed from circulation, she said.

Yesterday, it was also revealed $566,405 of ACC money had been claimed by people injured in using the e-scooters in the last five months.

Liam Thompson, 27, went over the handlebars of a Lime scooter. Photos / Supplied
Liam Thompson, 27, went over the handlebars of a Lime scooter. Photos / Supplied

Following today's meeting, Auckland Council demanded more transparency and communication about issues affecting the scooters, chief operating officer Dean Kimpton said.

"Our priority remains ensuring that those people who choose to use this innovative new mode of transport are safe.

"We have also asked [Lime] to provide information on the number of scooters affected, the technical issue leading to failure, their proposed solution including how they will manage pulling affected scooters off the streets, and assurance there will no further malfunctions.

"Once we have this information from Lime, we will decide on any next steps from a council perspective."


Last month, the Herald reported the shape of a possible deal between Lime and the council that is starting to emerge - one that could set a template for the e-scooter company's negotiations with other local bodies.

Councillor Chris Darby - who chairs the planning committee which will decide Lime's fate after its trial mobile-trading licence expires next month - has proposed the idea of a "Lime levy".

Darby has not put a figure on the mooted e-scooter tax, but the Herald understands a 5c levy has been discussed between Lime and the council.

Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton. Photo / File
Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton. Photo / File

The levy could come on top of the 60c per minute charged by Lime but it's not yet clear whether that would be 5c a minute, per ride, or charged on some other basis.

Meanwhile, road safety activist and commentator Clive Mathew Wilson is calling for Lime e-scooters to be recalled due to the safety defects.

"There have been multiple accidents involving Lime e-scooters. In the latest incidents, Lime scooters have suddenly locked up while being ridden," he said.


"Lime claims that it is dealing with the issue; the facts suggest otherwise. Clearly, it is time for the Government to step in and force a compulsory recall.

"The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has the power to force a recall on any defective consumer product."

Buddle Findlay partner Tony Dellow told the Herald the Government could ban Lime scooters from operating under the Fair Trading Act.

If the e-scooters could be declared as unsafe goods, then Lime would be obligated to take them off the road until they could prove they were safe.

"The Minister [of Commerce and Consumer Affairs] can only do this on the basis of evidence and they could say I'm concerned over all these injuries.

"To some extent it would almost be the fact of the injuries may be enough from the outset until Lime could show there isn't an issue with the Limes themselves."


Lime scooters timeline

• Jan 2017: Founded in San Francisco by Toby Sun and Brad Bao

• March 2017: Sun and Bao raise US$12m from Netscape founder Marc Andreessen

• June 2017: First service launched, in Greensboro, North Carolina, with e-scooters that cost US$1 to unlock then 15c a minute and e-bikes at 5c/minute

• July 2018: Raises US$335m in July 2018 in funding round supported by Google Ventures and Uber and various VCs; enters software partnership with Uber

• Oct 2018: Trial begins in Auckland and Christchurch, with Upper, Lower Hutt and Dunedin later added

• Oct 2018: Lime Pods (cars) launch in Seattle at 30c per minute


• January 2019: Lime says it's hit the millionth ride milestone in NZ. Worldwide, it is now in 100 cites, and valued at around US$2b

• March 31: Lime's trial licence in Auckland due to expire