Hundreds of electric scooters appear on Brisbane streets

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Queensland road rules state motorised scooters must not be able to travel faster than 10km/h and must have an electric motor of 200 watts output or less.

However, Transport Minister Mark Bailey later intervened to announce Lime would be offered a temporary exemption during a review of Queensland’s laws and regulations, which was expected to be completed by Christmas.

Security guards at South Bank appeared to be removing about half a dozen of the scooters from the Little Stanley Street area shortly after they appeared on Friday morning.

Lime scooters were collected by security guards at South Bank on Friday morning.

Lime scooters were collected by security guards at South Bank on Friday morning.

However, South Bank Corporation and the Brisbane City Council both referred the Brisbane Times’ questions to each other to answer.

Later on Friday, there were plenty of scooters available for hire in the South Bank area on the Lime app.

Brisbane Times can reveal the temporary permit, which expires on December 31, 2018, will allow Lime to roll out up to 500 scooters in the Brisbane CBD, South Brisbane, West End, Fortitude Valley and the immediate surrounding suburbs.

People will not be able to ride the neon-green scooters on roads, except for crossing a road or avoiding an obstruction on a footpath, in which case use on road is limited to 50 metres.

Use on on-road bicycle lanes is not permitted.

Brisbane people can use footpaths, shared paths, separated paths and bicycle paths, and must give way to pedestrians and travel on the left-most side, but not use the pedestrian-only side of a separated path.

People can find and hire a Lime scooter via the app. The green rectangle shows the "geofencing" area in Brisbane's inner-city.

People can find and hire a Lime scooter via the app. The green rectangle shows the “geofencing” area in Brisbane’s inner-city.

People cannot use them in areas with “no personal mobility device” signs, must be at least 16 years of age, or 12 with adult supervision, and must wear a helmet.

Additional passengers, using a mobile phone and drinking alcohol are not allowed, while front and rear lights must be used at night.

The Queen Street Mall and Goodwill Bridge were “no-parking zones”, and people who repeatedly tried to park there could have their accounts suspended or face fines.

Asked what would stop the scooters from ending up in the river or in a tree, Lime Australia and New Zealand government affairs and strategy director Mitchell Price said the company had a Brisbane-based operations team, supported by “juicers”.

“Juicers are anybody here in Brisbane, university students, retirees, mums, dads, anybody who is able to pick up a scooter in a car and charge them at home every night,” he said.

“Our scooters are state-of-the-art, they’ve got GPS, we have anti-tilt features, our team will go through 24-hour operations through the juicers and our operations team to ensure that we clear the streets at night and prevent scooters ending up in the river.”

Lime co-founder Caen Contee in Brisbane on Friday.

Lime co-founder Caen Contee in Brisbane on Friday.Credit:Felicity Caldwell

The scooters will be collected every night by 10pm and charged by juicers, who will be paid a fee, before being re-deployed in the morning.

Lime co-founder Caen Contee said there was a less than 1 per cent rate of theft or vandalism in its global operations.

Mr Contee said if a user hit someone, they would be liable but if it was due to a fault with the scooter, Lime would be responsible.

On Friday, the Lime app showed hundreds of scooters in the Brisbane CBD, West End, Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point.

Over the day, scooters also popped up at Camp Hill, Holland Park, Gaythorne and Chelmer, but the app should alert people they have parked in a no-parking zone outside a “geofencing” area in the inner-city.

The scooters have been rolled out to more than 125 cities worldwide and cost $1 to unlock and 30 cents a minute.

Felicity Caldwell is state political reporter at the Brisbane Times

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