Minister should resign over e-scooter death

Yesterday's e-scooter death was the result of corrupt and reckless mismanagement by the government and the Minister of Transport should resign, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says e-scooters were effectively sneaked onto the nation’s footpaths, without consultation and without a proper safety plan.

"Yesterday's death was a direct result of this debacle.”

“As of January of this year, the New Zealand Transport Agency stated that an 'electric scooter would be considered to be a motor vehicle and would need to be registered'. Motor vehicles cannot be used on footpaths."

“Yet after a quick chat with the former head of the Labour Party, who was a paid consultant for the e-scooter company, the NZTA mysteriously changed its mind.” 

The NZTA’s original belief that e-scooters were indeed motor vehicles has also been confirmed by a number of recent judicial decisions.

In Cromwell on October 20 of 2018, Daniel William Hurley (24) was charged with drink driving after a brief joyride on a motorised chilly bin.


Motorised chilly bin


The judge, Michael Turner, confirmed that the motorised chilly bin was indeed a motor vehicle. Hurley’s offending had been ‘‘at the lower end of the spectrum’’, and a Lime scooter was ‘‘probably more dangerous’’, said the judge.

Judge Turner fined Hurley $700, with court costs of $130. 

Motorised Lime scooter


It is also clear that, for some reason, not only did NZTA change its position on Lime scooters being motor vehicles, but also NZTA appeared to bend the law to accommodate Lime.

For example, emails obtained under the Official Information Act show that NZTA effectively took the word of Lime that its scooters complied.


13/9/18 10.01am. NZTA to Lime:
“Can you get your controllers tuned or any other manner to get your vehicles to maximum of 300W? Oh also, can you send us a manufacturer’s spec sheet which has the model code/name etc.”
• 15/9/18 5.20pm. Lime to NZTA:
“...we were able to control the maximum output by setting the ‘acceleration mode’ to the lowest level, which will keep actual power output under 300W at all times. I’ve just got ahold of the manufacturer’s spec sheet, and unfortunately the only version of it is in Chinese... you should be able to use Google translate...”
• 15/9/18 7.31pm. NZTA to Lime:
“...can you tell me how you can assure us that an operator cannot simply turn this mode off and revert it to type...”
• 17/9/18 11.39am. Lime to NZTA:
“I can’t think of any ways that this could be enforced. I suppose it would just be more of an honour system...”


Matthew-Wilson adds:

“When Lime scooters were first released, I warned that it would end badly. And the steady stream of accidents followed as night follows day, yet e-scooter promoters have not paid a cent towards treating the carnage caused by their scooters.”

“I’m not against e-scooters. I’m against the way that the promoters of these scooters were allowed to effectively dump their products onto the market without any real planning or supervision. The riders of these scooters ended up paying the price.”

“It is clear that the process whereby these scooters were allowed on our footpaths was corrupt, inept and reckless. Ultimately, the minister’s decisions have directly contributed to yesterday’s death. The minister must take responsibility by resigning.”