COMMENT:

What has happened to my generation, the baby boomers? We were never going to grow old. We told ourselves this so many times over the years and every time we went to a concert by the wizened old rock stars of our youth, we'd squeeze our thickened bodies into tee shirts and jeans convinced we didn't look as abominable as those other guys ambling to their seats.

But everywhere you go this summer you hear baby boomers complaining about Lime scooters. Seriously, what has happened to us.

I have never ridden an electric scooter and have no burning wish to do so. But I have missed them on the streets these past two weeks. I love the dash they've added to everyday life in the city.

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I love their insouciance. They're obviously a quick and easy way to get around town though I prefer walking, which is just as well because my life probably depends on it.

I walk a few blocks in the city twice a day most days and I've never been troubled by the occasional scooter whirring past. Never felt even slightly in danger and never seen anyone hit by them. I wonder whether the fearful have ever seen an accident, as distinct from reading a tally of ACC claims related to these machines in some way.

The electronics are heavy and hurtling along on the footpath the scooters would hurt if they hit you. But they can be stopped instantly, the risk of getting hit seems negligible. A life with no risk is not worth living and we'll be dead soon enough.

So well done Phil Goff and the Auckland Council for letting Lime back on the streets, or footpaths to be precise. It would have been easy to use the technical fault that caused the sudden lock-ups as an excuse to banish them indefinitely.

But once that hazard was publicised, it didn't require a council ban to get the defect fixed, and users don't need the reporting regime the council has imposed. Lime has more to fear from its market, few are going to ride those things at risk of a sudden lock-up.

It will be interesting to see how many are around today. On Friday, their first day back, there didn't seem to be as many around as before. I hope they survive. They look like the future to me. Unlike bikes or public transport.

If commuters are ever going to abandon the car it will be for another form of personal transport. Bicycles are one form but I wouldn't bet on them. I don't think anyone has staked their own money on bicycle hire schemes. Those tend to be municipal investments.

Cycling will probably always be a marginal mode of transport for an enthusiastic minority, even e-cycling. I've had one ride on an e-bike, it was easy peddling but I still felt like a plonker.

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Scooters are different, the riders are standing comfortably, not pumping their legs to get somewhere. They look like they might arrive looking good, smelling fine. They won't even have hat hair, not at the moment anyway.

If scooters are allowed to stay after Lime's trial ends at the end of the month, they will face the risk of silent strangulation by over-regulation. Helmets will probably be mandatory, and I don't know how that could work in an online hire system. Helmets are an excessive precaution and seriously uncool.

Worse, though, would be a regulation forcing e-scooters off footpaths and into bike lanes. They are not designed for the camber of roads. There is plenty of room on most footpaths most of the time and they should have a right to use them.

Since when were we keen pedestrians anyway? We are a car generation. Our parents had one car between them, boomers had to have a car each.

Scooters are probably just the most primitive form of personal hire vehicles of the future. In time, people will probably look back in amazement that the motorways used to be full of family sized cars with one person in them. They might also be amazed the cars were parked for 90 per cent of their life. You would think my generation would enjoy this glimpse of a future we may not see.

Instead we're sounding like frail old grouches given to inching our way along footpaths, taking fright at any sudden movement behind us, and snarling at the fact an American tech company was given permission to make money from the free use of a public resource.

It's the water bottling syndrome again. Profiting from public property by using it in a form people would pay for has always been resented by too many of my generation.

Ignore them. Progress is passing them on a whir of little wheels.