A 10km/h footpath speed limit will limit more than Lime scooters

A proposed 10km/h speed limit on footpaths won’t just be slowing e-scooters down, writes Madeleine Chapman.

Sometimes we idiots need to be saved from ourselves. We get given a nice thing and we ruin it. The nice thing (not even that nice, if I’m honest) was Lime scooters. The ruining was everyone crashing them immediately. The scooters already have a built-in speed limit of 30km/h but even that was too generous. Now Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is threatening to take the nice thing away by making it so lame and impractical that no one would dare ride one.

Despite the vast majority of Lime accidents being riders owning themselves, Mayor Goff has come to the aid of vulnerable pedestrians by proposing a speed limit for e-scooters being ridden on footpaths. Goff implored transport minister Phil Twyford to tighten restrictions on scooter use after some near misses between Lime scooters and pedestrians.

Stuff received a copy of Twyford’s response which confirmed that Goff had proposed a “maximum speed limit for all vehicles that are allowed on the footpath”.

The proposed speed limit was 10km/h.

That’s slow. The average leisurely walking speed is 5km/h. Almost everyone doing anything on a footpath that isn’t walking will be moving at speeds faster than 10km/h.

If this speed limit were to be enforced, the ramifications would be wide-reaching and great enough to change life as we know it. For not only will Lime scooters be shackled to a speed not worth paying for, so to will many of us, young and old, human and otherwise. Because here is an incomplete list of people and things that could be prosecuted for moving faster than 10km/h on Auckland footpaths.

Lime scooters

The green straw that broke Phil Goff’s back. They’re heavy, they’re fast(er than someone walking), and some people don’t know how to ride them properly because they never learned about centre of gravity. With a 10km/h speed limit, Lime Scooters would be gone from footpaths.

Skateboards

Every time I see someone skating on the footpath I worry that they’ll hit a stone and faceplant in front of me. It never happens but it’s probably for the best (at least for me) that they be made to get off their skateboards and off the footpath.

Runners

What are human bodies if not vehicles for our brains? Some bodies can move faster than others, and most runners you see out on the street are moving at paces of 10km/h or faster. Not me, but most runners. Apologies to those fit people but slow down or, you guessed it, get off the footpath.

Mobility scooters

They’re bigger, heavier, and faster than e-scooters. That is all.

Kids on push scooters

Ban them. Kids, I mean.

A parent who just missed the bus while pushing a stroller

Don’t you dare sprint for that bus, gender-ambiguous parent. Keep that baby vehicle moving at an acceptable speed.

A goose attacking a passerby at Western Springs

Have you seen how fast those nightmare creatures move? Put them in comically tiny handcuffs and take them to jail.

The problem that Goff is trying to solve isn’t e-scooters on footpaths, it’s e-scooters on crowded footpaths. If you’re trying to ride a Lime at speed in the CBD, you’re an idiot. Just like if you try to go for a fast run up Queen St, you’re an idiot. The issue isn’t speed, it’s space. If there was a space for all these fast(er than walking) ‘vehicles’ to operate safely away from cars, the city would be a safer and more efficient place.

Incredibly, there’s something that could rid the city of this issue once and for all.

Cycle lanes.

Someone get Simon Wilson on the phone.


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