Why would a sixty-one year old want to ride through town on a bright orange scooter? For two reasons, firstly to give it a go and secondly to see if it provides a good way of getting around Newcastle.
Anyone who has been in Newcastle recently will have seen the Neuron scooters lined up at convenient locations around the city. According to its website ‘Neuron’s global operations are Certified Carbon Neutral and our e-scooters and e-bikes produce zero carbon emissions, making our rides better for the environment than many other forms of transport. We were the first company to deploy battery-swapping e-scooters for efficient operations. Our e-scooters are an energy-efficient, inexpensive option that help reduce city congestion.’
I’ve been trying to use public transport more of late and I felt that using the scooters could add to my options. I have now used them twice and whilst early days wanted to let you know how I got on.
Getting started was easy enough. I downloaded the app, entered my card details and was good to go. To get started you read the barcode on the bike, release the helmet, stand on the scooter, push off with your foot and press down the accelerator. It was as easy as riding a bike!
What I hadn’t realised (stupidly on reflection) was that they can not be used in pedestrian areas. This makes their use around the monument quite difficult though you can push them even if the power is off. My second issue was that the area in which you can use them, the service area, isn’t always clear and you can find yourself wandering in and out of it, especially at the edge of an area. It can be different on opposite sides of the street. Both of these can be sorted with a bit of advance planning though.
My final issue so far has nothing to do with the scooters themselves but rather with other road users. On my second ride, from the Swing Bridge to the Central Station, I had only gone 20 metres before I was blasted by a taxi driver. Hearing someone honk their horn like that always makes me see red and I admit to shouting something rude.
So far so good then. I will continue to try them but with a little more forethought. If you are in town give them a go and if you see a sixty-one year old riding along, give me a wave.