They’re bright, they’re orange and they’re being marketed as one of the most safety-conscious e-scooters on the market.
Singaporean based company Neuron Mobility unveiled its e-scooters in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square on Thursday morning in preparation for the launch of 800 scooters on Friday. It would also launch 200 e-bikes in the city by the end of the year.
Adam Muirson, Neuron Mobility’s NZ regional manager, said the company was focused on putting “the city and its people first” by creating an e-scooter that incentivise safety.
“The [scooter] looks very different to anything else that you’ll see on the market and for good reason – essentially we design and build our own e-scooter rather than getting an off the shelf model.”
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The wheels are bigger than traditional e-scooters to help navigate bumps , a voice guidance system provides safety tips to the rider, and “geofencing technology” controls where they can be ridden and parked and how fast they can travel in certain areas.
“It’s going to tell you what’s happening as it’s happening so as a rider you don’t feel the need to pull out your phone to check,” Muirson said.
The scooter can detect when there has been a crash and will send a message to the rider to check they’re OK or let them press a button to be patched through to emergency services.
A “follow my ride” feature allows the rider to share a code allowing others to track their ride to make sure they reach their destination safely.
But the “jewel in the crown” was that all scooters were covered by third-party insurance, Muirson said, meaning riders were covered if they accidentally damaged someone else’s property.
To further incentivise safe riding, Neuron would offer 50 cent coupons to those who took a selfie showing themselves wearing a helmet and who parked in areas the company highlighted as “preferred” based on their safety and proximity to popular areas.
Riders must be at least 18, the standard rate to unlock the scooter is $1, and it then costs 45c per minute to ride. Three-day, weekly and monthly passes would available.
The company was offering 50 per cent off all rides from Monday to Friday between October 1 and 14 to mark its launch in Christchurch.
Neuron joined Lime as one of two e-scooter operators in Christchurch. A permit was previously held by Kiwi company Flamingo.
Christchurch City Council urban development and transport committee chair Mike Davidson said land transport was the city’s “biggest emitter” and e-scooters gave people an alternative way to travel.
“We know that having good mode choice will help reduce the reliance on motor vehicles, lower our carbon footprint and ease congestion,” he said.