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E-scooter firm Lime plans to speed up London manoeuvres after Paris ban

A Lime e-scooter sits parked on a street in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, May 9, 2019.
A Lime e-scooter sits parked on a street in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, May 9, 2019. Copyright Gillian Flaccus/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Gillian Flaccus/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
By Indrabati Lahiri
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Despite some opposition to e-bikes and scooters, Lime aims to expand into three more London boroughs, and to open a new warehouse in north London.

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E-scooter and e-bike company Lime is looking at a £25 million (€23.08 million) London expansion, following its ban from Paris. The ban followed a referendum that ruled out a shared scheme for the French capital involving e-scooter companies.

The ban came after a rise in complaints about scooter accidents, pavement clutter and careless riding. The main scooter companies affected were Dott, Lime and Tier.

At present, Britain has also outlawed private scooter riding on public roads. However, specific trial areas are available across the country for rental scooters. The scooters, which have speed limits of 15.5 miles per hour, work by being unlocked and hired through an app.

Currently, Lime scooters can be ridden in 16 London boroughs. The added investment is intended to finance the company's plans to expand into three more boroughs.

Lime has also revealed that it will be earmarking an extra £1 million (€1.17 million) to acquire dedicated parking spaces. The company will also establish a new north London warehouse.

The extra investment will mainly be used to expand e-bike operations in the city, the company said. Lime also rents out cycles. 

No everyone is pleased with this mode of transport. Accidents caused by scooters being ridden outside the designated areas have been reported and illegal private scooter riding remains a concern. 

Lime also revealed its 2023 bookings rose 32% to $616 million (€569 million), with the company also eyeing its home territory, the US, for a potential stock exchange listing.

Could other cities also ban e-scooters?

Following the Paris ban, several riders and e-scooter companies have been on edge, wondering if other European cities might follow suit as well.

This is mainly due to e-scooters having come under increased fire recently in many cities, for causing more riding accidents, illegal riding outside of designated areas, as well as increased clutter on pavements. Not only is this inconvenient for pedestrians, but there have also been reports of accidents involving collisions with disabled people.

Rental scooter rides have also become more expensive in recent years, thereby eroding  practicality and ease of use.

Despite these objections, others are against laws attempting to ban or restrict the use of shared scooters, arguing they contribute to reducing pollution and traffic through a fall in the use of cars on the road.

Referring to the Paris ban, Helene Chartier, director of urban planning at C40 was reported by TechCrunch as saying: "As part of a mobility package that Paris would offer as an alternative to cars, shared e-scooters could have been an option. Without all of the other problems, they could have said" 'Ok why not?'"

"But if you add the accidents, if you add the difficulty of the public space, at some point, you need to say this is not the main solution. We should invest more in bikes, e-bikes, walking."

Other cities including San Francisco, Montreal, Honolulu and New York have already banned or severely restricted the use of e-scooters for these very concerns.

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