A pro-walking organization has taken legal action against the Auckland Council and Waka Kotahi over their decisions to allow e-scooters on the city’s footpaths.
Shared e-scooters have been discussed for a long time since they were first tested in New Zealand – with concerns about safety.
They were removed from the streets of Auckland in late 2019 but have since been reintroduced.
In September 2019, 23-year-old Toben Hunt died after being seriously injured in a Lime e-scooter accident in St. Mary’s Bay.
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In a news release on Friday, Living Streets Aotearoa announced that it had brought a lawsuit against the Council and Waka Kotahi in the Auckland High Court over its rulings that resulted in “large numbers” of e-scooters being left on sidewalks in Auckland was used.
JASON DORDAY / STUFF
Lime e-scooters were the first to be introduced in Auckland.
The group requested a judicial review of the decisions.
Living Aotearoa alleged Waka Kotahi failed to consult with parties likely to be affected by the decision not to declare e-scooters to be motor vehicles and to be allowed to drive on footpaths.
“In addition, it did not take into account some important implications of the decision to issue the decision, including the question of whether the e-scooters, which it was supposed to make it easier to rent in large quantities, met the legal requirements for lawful use on footpaths.”
Ricky Wilson / stuff
The Jump e-scooter brand is also used in Auckland.
The group’s case against the Auckland Council focused on licensing e-scooter operators to operate their e-scooters on footpaths.
“Living Streets and other members of the Footpaths4Feet Coalition have tried to convince the government that footpaths are for people who walk or use mobility aids such as wheelchairs and are not the place for e-scooters.”
The group claimed that driving or leaving the e-scooter on footpaths was dangerous and intimidated many pedestrians, such as the elderly.
Ricky Wilson / stuff
The use of e-scooters in Auckland has been controversial since they were tried out.
“Pedestrians also include people with a variety of sensory and cognitive disabilities, including the inability to see where e-scooters are.
“These people all have a right to be safe and to feel safe on the walk.”
An Auckland Council spokeswoman said legal proceedings had opened on Friday morning.
The council was currently considering it but no further comments would be made as the matter was in court.
Waka Kotahi also confirmed that a lawsuit was opened on Friday morning.
“We are now examining the claims and the corresponding next steps and can therefore not make any further comments at the moment.”