The number of Lime electric scooters being ridden around the streets and pavements of Athens is set to rise as Greeks have taken warmly to the two-wheeled mode of transport taking off around the world. Accidents and a lack of regulations on road rules for scooters have failed to dampen interest in them for many but authorities in Greece have started a crackdown with the municipality of Heraklion, Crete, banning the shared mode of transport until the government updates traffic laws regulating them.
Alessio Raccagna, Government Relations Manager of Lime for Italy and Greece, tells Business Daily that the company works closely with local authorities and municipalities in every city to overcome any problems, offering advice on different issues including safety.
"All over the world, a key challenge for all smart mobility companies is the lack of regulation for scooters so in the case of Greece too, there is no regulation at the moment and this is challenging for our operations," he says.
Sources have indicated that Greece's Transport Ministry will prepare in the next four months new rules for electric scooters. But so far, they are being used in large urban centers without any rules applying.
Lime introduced its electric scooter to Greece in December last year, by starting off in Thessaloniki. The Athens market was then tested with 100 scooters - a number which has since grown into several hundred. The scooters have also been introduced to Rethymno, Crete, while the company struck a new deal earlier this month with the municipality of Pallini to enter that area located in eastern Attica. Lime is also eyeing expansion into other areas in the region, adds Raccagna.
"We have recorded 1 million rides all over the country in a period of 9 months which is an amazing number," he says. "Greek people are ready to change, they want to avoid congestion and traffic and are more than ready to adapt their lifestyle in order to move more quickly and more enjoyably around the city."
Cities, such as Paris, are champions for Lime. The success of a market for the company depends on a city’s infrastructure, such as the existence of bike lanes. In Greece, the scooters are mainly being used by people commuting to work which means that they leave their cars at home.
However, many drivers, pedestrians and store owners, in Greece are still struggling to get used to the electric scooters. Last week, the municipality of Heraklion, Crete, took the step of banning them until Greece's traffic rules are updated on what users should - and shouldn't - do. Sources at the municipality said that a number of accidents had been caused by users on scooters, resulting in minor injuries, within the city and in the broader area, such as on national highways.