Recently, my partner and I, took a couple of Lime scooters for a spin alongside the Brisbane River. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the views, wonderful. The whole experience was exhilarating. Once I got going, I didn't want to stop.
Santa on Lime, with views of Brisbane and river in the background.
From South Bank, we headed over the Goodwill Bridge, then turned right, and rode through the City Botanic Gardens. Another right, took us past the alfresco diners at Eagle Street Pier, under the Story Bridge, behind the bustling Howard Smith Wharves, and along the glorious New Farm Riverwalk, where we created a breeze, as we whizzed along. Awesome.
The controls: The left handlebar has a hand brake attached. Next along is the bell, then the speedometer, the QR Code, the accelerator tab, and the right handlebar.
I hadn't been on a scooter since childhood, let alone an electric one with a top speed of 27 kilometres per hour. To be perfectly honest, I was feeling a little nervous and my hands gripped the handlebars tightly. I set off cautiously, slowly getting used to the controls. After ten minutes of riding, I felt much more at ease.
To get started, download the free 'Lime' app, onto your mobile phone. Next, enter credit or debit card details. Open the Lime app, and a map showing scooter icons will appear. These identify the exact location of available scooters in an area (zoom in for more detail). TIP: Check how much power each scooter has, by looking at the small battery icon next to the scooter icon (the more bars, the further you can travel). For more information and a video, click here.
The helmet should fit your head snugly. Turn red wheel at rear of helmet to make bigger or smaller. Tighten or loosen green straps, then fasten under your chin. TIP: Do this before selecting 'Scan to Ride'.
The Queensland Government has allowed the electric scooters to operate on a trial basis, to determine whether they are right for Brisbane. According to the Brisbane Times, the trial finishes on 31 December 2018. As a rider, the scooters get my vote. As a pedestrian, they do not (I feel as safe as a skittle, at a bowling alley).
One of the toughest things was deciding how to position my feet on the deck, a dilemma faced by many new board riders. Was I natural or goofy footed? Right foot forward, left foot back, worked best for me. Remember to flick the kick stand up, before setting off.
Advantages of Lime Scooters: (1) Convenience: If you see one, hop on and go. At your destination, lock it, and walk away. No parking costs to worry about if you're in the city. We rode our scooters home. They disappeared from outside our house within a couple of hours, having been hired by other riders, or picked up by a Juicer (Juicers are employed to recharge the scooters). On the map, I saw scooters parked as far afield as Wynnum and Ferny Grove.
(2) Lime scooters are easy to ride. (3) You can ride on footpaths, and on off-road bikeways. The bikeways around the Brisbane River are extensive, and the scenery splendid. Our next lot of visitors are in for a treat.
A cluster of Lime Scooters. Note: Not all have helmets.
Disadvantages of Lime Scooters: (1) Inconvenience. We found 3 scooters parked together, but there was only one helmet. Riding without a helmet is illegal in Queensland, so we had to walk further to find one. Another problem is arriving to pick up a scooter, only to discover that someone else has arrived a minute before you. TIP: Look for the greatest number of scooters parked together and make sure they have sufficient power.
New Farm-Newstead Bikeway Map. More adventurous riders may like to continue on to New Farm Park, and catch a CityCat back to South Bank.
(2) Cost: At $1 to unlock a scooter, and then 30 cents per minute, 10 minutes will cost you $4. Given the right conditions, you can travel a fair distance in that time, but public transport is generally cheaper. Also, it's easy to lose track of time when you're having fun. My scooter kept going, even though I had only loaded $10, and not enabled the auto top-up option. I was okay with that, but for someone on a budget, going into debt could be a problem.
Lime Scooter in the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane
(3) During the trial period, riders are not permitted to use on-road bicycle lanes. Yes, you can ride on footpaths, but pedestrians are likely to slow your progress, so it will cost you more. (4) Potential for injury to yourself, and other users of footpaths and bikeways. A major issue at the time of writing, was that riders do not appear to be covered by insurance (read more here). For anyone involved in an accident, Lime Magic may suddenly transform into Lime Menace.
Santa on Lime, New Farm Riverwalk, Brisbane. He wished all readers of Weekend Notes, a very happy Christmas.
Fabulous idea, Myrtle, especially great to ease traffic congestion in cities. It definitely wouldn't work in Africa, as the scooters would disappear forever in a very short space of time. Hubby and I tried electric bikes in Noosa a while back and must say I loved them ...
Hi Myrtle - I have been so curious about them, since they appeared and you have answered all the questions I had. Thanks so much for a really informative article. I think on the whole I might stick to the bus, though the kids might be tempted. Marina
Good story, I love the scooters but share your concern regarding being a human skittle. I had to laugh the other day when I saw two people on one scooter where the passenger was letting out a scream that was somewhere between utter joy and absolute terror! :-)