A LEADING transportation company that runs electric scooters and electric bikes in over 250 cities throughout the world hope to bring their product to Cork if the necessary legislation is passed through the Oireachtas.
Last October the Government approved a new Road Traffic Bill which legislates, for the first time, the use of e-scooters and e-bikes on Irish roads.
The maximum design speed in the bill for both e-scooters and e-bikes is prescribed to be no less than six kilometres per hour and no more than 25 kilometres per hour.
Local authorities will be given the power to set a lower 20km/h speed limit for e-scooters on specified roads or parts of roads and it will be an offence to supply one to someone who is under 16.
Use of e-scooters will also be prohibited on motorways and busways but allowed on cycle routes.
This bill is expected to proceed through the Oireachtas in the coming months. Following this, transportation companies will be invited to tender for the exclusive rights to provide their shared e-scooter services with the various local authorities nationwide.
If the bill is passed, Lime which is founded on a simple idea that all communities deserve access to a smart and affordable mobility plan, intend to engage with the local authorities to ensure Cork and other cities in Ireland are added to their growing portfolio.
Lime CEO Wayne Ting said they would ‘love’ to bring their product to Cork. “Lots of companies have set up their headquarters in Ireland because they have led in regulations, economic innovation and friendliness. We want to make sure we are there with our product as it could be an incredible boost to the local communities. We would love to bring our product to Cork,” he said.
Lime is currently the world’s largest operator of light electric vehicles.
Mr Ting said their ambition is to provide green transportation that will be an alternative to cars. “Through the equitable distribution of shared scooters, bikes, and transit vehicles, we aim to reduce dependence on personal automobiles for short distance transportation and leave future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet.
“Our ambition is to build a suite of green transportation that will be an alternative to cars. We are in 250 plus cities and 30 plus countries. We are the market leader in London and Paris. When you look at big global cities, a lot of them have adopted shared e-bikes and e-scooters to incentivise people to drive less, be outdoors and be more active. In the future we should have fewer cars, more public transport, and more green transportation alternatives such as bikes and scooters,” he added.
“We really see Ireland as our hub. It is our headquarters in Europe. We have our head office with about 20 employees there,” said the CEO of Lime Wayne Ting. Lime already has a presence in Ireland through their office in Dublin. The CEO said the legislation to legalise shared micro mobility is currently working its way through the Oireachtas.
“We have been investing and building in Ireland for four years even without an operation. If we launch in Ireland it will lead to more employment. There is a legislation that is working its way through at present. Our hope is to create an innovative legislative framework. Most European cities have frameworks that legalise shared micro mobility.
“We would love to see that happen in Ireland. We can see micro mobility working in cities which have a similar population of a couple of hundred thousand such as Cork.” Mr Ting said their e-scooter and e-bikes product work in communities of all sizes.
“It is incredibly important to have a greener transportation system. We need protected bike lanes and better infrastructure. Cities are changing their regulations to facilitate and encourage more active green transportation. In London they have added miles of new bike lanes. Paris has agreed to take out most of their on-street parking over the course of many years.
"Berlin had the biggest car free zone. Lime wants to be partner with cities to help solve this which includes Ireland. You can fit eight e-bikes and eight e-scooters in a single car parking spot which can dramatically open up a city and give it to restaurants and pedestrians. This will make the city more livable.
“We also need politicians to step up. We want to partner with local cities.
“We don’t have all the answers. The right answer depends on the local community. When we go into a market we talk to the local leaders. We ask them how we might be a part of the transport system, how we might build a product that fits the Cork community and gives the residents more choices? The product works in communities of all sizes. They can choose to ride a e-bicycle or a e-scooter and get out of a car and be outdoors,” he added.
Cork Chamber of Commerce said it welcomes new entrants to Cork to provide sustainable transport solutions as increased mobility choice and options for last mile delivery for businesses located in the city, as well as workers, shoppers and visitors can only be a positive development for a more accessible and sustainable city.
Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO said: “Joined up thinking and integration with public transport as part of the mobility mix as well as the long-term development of the city will be key. Micro mobility can be supportive of the realisation of a 15-minute city for communities in Cork and decrease city-wide traffic congestion and emissions to help hit climate targets.
“We expect for upcoming legislation to take account of a cross section of public consultation, and learnings from international case studies on speed limits, parking, vulnerable road users and pedestrians as well as pricing, public awareness and education. Technology and innovation to match the demand for safe, carbon free mobility options should be supported,” he added.
Cork Chamber is a partner of the Transport & Mobility Forum, Cork (TMF) a representative group of organisations who have a common interest in sustainable and active travel. Its mission is to increase the number of people travelling through sustainable and active travel in Cork.
As part of the Forum, Cork Chamber is ready to support officials and elected representatives on the journey to arrive at the best possible mobility solutions for Cork.