The Limes have arrived in four of our major cities, and from ‘praise to panic’, they’re causing a stir. We sent out two of our GrownUps scooter spies to test the waters, and this is what they came back with.
Know before you go
Like most things in life now, access to a Lime scooter depends on a mobile phone app, mobile data and a credit card. And prior knowledge is essential if you don’t want to look out of your depth when you hit the streets. It took us a good 20 minutes of sitting on the sofa at home, studying the Lime site FAQs, before we got our heads around the system – and even then we had a few problems.
2 out of 5 doesn’t impress
When we finally located a clutch of scooters, we thought we were home and hosed – not so! We tried to unlock five scooters before we found two that would work, which was very frustrating. The problems with the scooters that weren’t operational ranged from ‘no juice’ (the charge had run down), broken parts, and an ‘unavailable right now’ (whatever that means). All in all – pretty frustrating!
Riding the scooters is all about having fun, but we felt seriously uncomfortable sharing footpath space with frightened pedestrians – many of whom simply stepped out onto the road when they saw us coming. We didn’t blame them. Although we were being very conservative with speed (travelling at around 11kmph and space-sharing sensitively), we saw other riders racing along footpaths at much higher speeds. In our opinion, electric scooters and pedestrians don’t mix.
Cycle lanes make sense
Where there were cycle lanes, we felt much more comfortable on our scooters. However, whenever we ventured onto the roads to share space with cars, we considered ourselves highly vulnerable, especially without helmets which are not legally required on Limes. In our opinion, the most enjoyable place to ride an electric scooter is in parks and on paths which are officially designated as dual pedestrian-cycle ways.
Expect a workout
If you think electric scooters are all about a lazy ride, think again! Although we found them simple to balance on, we still got bumped about as we navigated scooting over drain covers, curbs, potholes, speed bumps, brick paving and wooden-decked bridges. The wheels on these machines are seriously small and solid-as! And don’t expect hem to take you up anything more than a gentle rise. By the time our hour-long ride was over, our bones were on the weary side.
Fun but not free
Call us thrifty, but at $1 to unlock a scooter each time you use it, and 15 cents a minute to ride (or pause the ride but still maintain ‘ownership’ of your scooter), the ride-cost soon mounts up, especially when you take into account your lengthy wait at traffic lights. Scooters are certainly cheaper than an Uber or a taxi, but not necessarily as convenient or as cheap as a bus – especially if you have a senior’s bus pass. The biggest pitfall with cost was that we omitted to turn off the ‘switch’ on the Lime app which automatically updates the hire fee using your credit card details. The result – we spent $20 each having fun instead of the $10 we planned to.
Would we do it again?
If we had friends from out of town staying with us, and the weather was at its best, we’d certainly consider taking them out on the Limes (just not on a footpath). However, we’re not so enamoured of the new mode of transport that we’ll be using them ourselves for getting around town. And we certainly won’t be selling the car!