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 South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia

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Ride back to your childhood

Updated: Sep 13, 2019


Photo provided by Neutron Holdings, Inc. dba Lime

Even my 75-years-old father in law couldn’t resist the temptation.


On the final day of his stay in Australia, he insisted on test driving a Lime scooter.


And didn’t even crash.


The green-and-white two-wheelers started popping up in Queensland’s capital last week after transport authorities issued a temporary exemption for a three-month trial.


Unlike Brisbane City Council’s CityCycle scheme, which is now in its eighth year, Lime scooters don’t use docking stations.


Instead, you can find and unlock them at random locations — depending on where the person before you hopped off — using a map on a Uber-inspired app.


Reminiscent of an oversized toy and big fun to zip around on, the electric-powered vehicles, which can travel at speeds of up to 27km/h, instantly unleash your inner child.


But how do they stack up as a way to get from A to B?


Is this the transportation revolution we’ve all been waiting for?


After I put my dad on the plane, I decided to try for myself. This is what I found.


Starting is as easy as one-two-three.


Open the app, scan the QR code on the handlebar and off you go.


Driven by the front wheel, the 250-watt engine showed more than enough grunt to pull me onto hilly Vulture Street.


However, as exciting as the ride may be, it’s a bit wobbly too.


And it’s expensive: one dollar to unlock and 30 cents per minute.


By comparison: a 24-hours casual pass for a pedal-it-yourself CityCycle sets you back not even two dollars.


My verdict? Lime scooters are a great tourist attraction, but not quite competitive and of limited practical use.


Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council support the trial because, despite their differences, they agree that innovative solutions are necessary to fight congestion.


It’s a noble cause, but it remains to be seen whether Lime scooters are the right answer.


I’m counting the days until CityCycle goes electric.


Pedal support would nullify the need for Lime scooters — if there is a need at all.


In the meantime, I think I’ll stick to walking.


What are Lime scooters?


Lime scooters are full-size electric scooters designed for inner-city travel for adults.


Already widely popular in nearly 100 cities across the US, the San Francisco-based start-up has also launched in nine other countries including Germany, New Zealand, France, Spain and Canada.


How much do they cost?


After downloading the free app and installing it on your smartphone, it costs one dollar to unlock a vehicle and 30 cents each minute of the trip until you log off.


Users must provide their name, email address and credit card but the company has vowed it does not share or sell user data.


Who charges them?


Juicers.


That’s the name the company behind the Lime scooters is using for people who are paid to help charge and ready the vehicles for the next day.


Anyone can become a juicer — just sign up online and make sure you have a big car and plenty of power points at home.


Are they street legal?


Lime scooters can’t be ridden on roads, except for crossing the street or avoiding an obstruction on a footpath and for no further than 50 metres.


You are allowed to use footpaths, bicycle paths and shared paths, but should not use the pedestrian-only side of a separated path.


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