Living Streets Aotearoa has filed a claim in the High Court in Auckland against the decisions of Auckland Council and the NZTA which resulted in large numbers of e-scooters being used on the city’s footpaths. Living Streets is seeking judicial review of those decisions.
The essence of the case against NZTA is that it failed to consult with parties likely to be affected by the decision when it issued a Notice declaring that e-scooters meeting certain criteria were not motor vehicles. Also, it failed to consider some important implications of the decision to issue the Notice, including whether the e-scooters, the hiring of large numbers of which it intended to facilitate, met the statutory requirements for lawful use on footpaths.
Living Streets Aotearoa is also seeking a declaration that the e-scooters for hire in Auckland do not come within the terms of the exemptions granted in the Notice and the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.
The principal case against Auckland Council is that it licensed the operation of hire e-scooter businesses for use on Auckland footpaths when they did not meet the conditions for lawful use on footpaths and similarly failed to consult with affected parties.
Living Streets and other members of the Footpaths4Feet Coalition have been trying to convince the government that footpaths are for people on foot or using mobility devices such as wheelchairs and are not the appropriate place for e-scooters.
Riding, and leaving, e-scooters on footpaths endangers and intimidates many pedestrians who range in age from infants in prams to elders in their 80s and above. Pedestrians also include people with a wide range 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 footpath.
We also want relatively-climate friendly personal transport devices such as e-scooters to be allocated dedicated road space so that riders can also be and feel safe. These devices are ideal for many trips currently undertaken by people driving alone in cars. Providing a safe, pleasant place for them to be used should encourage more people to ditch the drive and go for the ride.
The case is being handled by Chris Browne of Auckland law firm Wilson Harle.