Elderly community worried about e-scooters - new or old wave

March 28, 2019

Elderly community worried about e-scooters - new or old wave

Lime Scooters were taken off Auckland streets for almost two weeks in February because of safety concerns. Photo: Isabella Durant.

A leading charity for the elderly says e-scooters are putting people at risk, while others are “not convinced” new Wave e-scooters will be any safer than Limes.

Age Concern New Zealand’s chief executive Stephanie Clare said that although they haven’t had any direct reports of incidents, they say they don’t believe our paths are equipped for e-scooters.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of things on the footpath now and it is putting footpath users at risk, the speed of e-scooters is just another element of this.

“Someone could easily be knocked off balance, and when you’re an older person that could be detrimental as you could easily injure yourself or break something,” said Ms Clare.

Older generations are wanting to ‘keep an open mind’ but say they don’t believe the Waves will provide any more protection than the Limes, regardless of their intended safety features.

Adele Ireland, 97, said that her hearing is ‘not terrible’, but is concerned about those with hearing impairments and doesn’t believe the new scooters will take this into account.

“The scooters have given me a heck of a fright before, and that’s even when I can hear them,I can’t imagine what it would be like for a deaf person… I don’t think the companies have taken them into consideration,” said Ms Ireland.

Sandringham resident Patricia Taylor said she and her friends think ‘irresponsible’ Lime riders are a growing issue for the elderly community of Auckland.

“Us oldies clearly weren’t in mind when the e-scooters were created, and that’s fine, but the riders need to take care when going fast.

“We can’t move out of the way as fast as they’d like or we’d like to, so even though these new scooters won’t go as fast, I’m not convinced they’ll be any safer,” said the 86-year-old.

Age Concern also says that e-scooters can be detrimental to all groups of people, not just the one they represent.

We certainly know that the presence of the e-scooters on the footpath has put not just older people at risk, but young children, hearing impaired and others at risk,” said the organisation.

The 500 hundred Wave e-scooters launched on March 13 have a maximum speed of 25km/h, restricted to 15km/h in certain parts of Auckland CBD, unlike Limes with no restriction which can whiz around at up to 30km/h.

Auckland Transport said in a media release that Wave has assured them their scooters are safe to ride.

"The model of scooters Wave is introducing has been used in other countries, under a different name, with no issue to date.

"Each e-scooter will have a maintenance check each day when they are collected overnight for charging," said AT.

scooters

New Wave e-scooters have significant differences to Limes – such as a speed cap, a shorter neck and an added foot brake. Photo: Isabella Durant

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