Lime keeps me awake at night
On Saturday, at 7:30 a.m., I was woken up by a strange noise. Five electronic notes were repeated every 30 seconds to a minute. In fact, they followed each other at random intervals. I deduced that it was the sound of an electronic game; someone was hooked on the game and every time he managed to eat or jump something, it produced this pounding signal. “What a strange time to play,” I thought, wondering whether the game junkie had woken up to play or had been at it all night. At the same time, I’ve had a building site in front of my house for almost two years now, so the noises are continuous on weekdays from before 08:00 a.m. The silence of the weekends was now seriously threatened by some kind of Candy Crush extravaganza.
An hour later, the noise continued; the hardcore gamer seemed unwilling to put down the controller. I went outside in the hope of locating him and asking him to close his window. I got my bearings from the noise and arrived at the corner of my street. There, lying on the ground, I discovered the source of the noise about 50 metres from home (!). It wasn’t a PlayStation; it was a Lime scooter. In fact, there were two of them. The little green box under the handlebars of the scooters emitted what I understood to be an alarm signal for being badly parked. An alarm signal at an unbridled volume that had managed to wake me up from the street in my own house. I moved the scooters, they emitted a different kind of alarm, I left them parked properly and, after a while, they fell silent.
End of story? I wish.
On Sunday, at 03:15 a.m., I was woken up again by Lime’s alarm. “I can’t believe it,” I thought as I tossed and turned in bed. I got dressed and went down to the street. Again, two Lime scooters were lying on the pavement; unfortunately, one was right under my window. I moved them and parked them properly. They went quiet. I went back upstairs and went to bed, but not before expressing my indignation on LinkedIn. It took me over an hour to get back to sleep. My weekend’s rest was wasted.
While waiting for someone from Lime to give me an explanation and, above all, to confirm that they are going to remove the alarm from the scooters (fingers crossed…), I basically ask myself the following question: who at Lime could have thought that putting these alarms on was a good idea?
Let me explain. An alarm signal is a nuisance. The usual logic is that the annoying noise induces a quick reaction in others (like the driver who pulls aside when he hears the fire siren) or deters criminal behaviour (like the thief who prefers not to steal the car whose alarm has gone off).
In the case of Lime scooters, the alarm defies the usual logic. The noise turns them into instruments of nuisance to neighbours rather than instruments of micro-mobility. The alarm does not go off until the scooter is properly parked. It can stay like that for hours. And who does it bother? The driver who has parked it inappropriately? No! The poor neighbour whose house is next to the scooter.
A penalty system that penalises not the offender but people completely unrelated to the offence is nonsense. The person who has left the scooter fallen over will not suffer the consequences of his actions. Wouldn’t it be better if, instead of sounding the alarm, an extra charge was made on the account of the driver of the scooter who left it badly parked? It is well known who it was since he was registered on the previous trip.
Who is the genius who thought that an alarm would be better than a fine to penalize the person responsible for leaving the scooter stranded? The only reason I can think of for opting for the alarm is that it does indeed ensure that the scooter ends up parked properly. But at what cost? It is not parked by the person who left it lying around, but by a poor neighbour who simply wants to sleep. We, the neighbours, end up being the cheap labour outsourced by Lime to get their scooters properly parked. Do you really think it is a good idea to bother people until some sleepy neighbour comes down to the street in order to park the scooter properly? Does Lime’s corporate image benefit from such nonsense?
Please, Lime officials, let this madness stop. Review your decision-making processes because, in this case, you have failed miserably.