E-Scooter Company Looks To Thwart QR Code Theft

e-scooter Image credit: Lime

E-scooter and e-bike rental company Lime redesigns vehicles after users in London and New York report theft of QR codes, rendering vehicles useless

E-scooter and e-bike rental company Lime has modified its vehicles in London and New York after finding that non-users were removing the vehicles’ QR codes, rendering them useless.

To use a Lime vehicle one must scan the QR code with the Lime app, but London and New York users complained that in many cases the codes had been removed, Lime said.

The codes were previously printed onto a plastic panel that was bolted onto the handlebars.

They will now be sealed under a layer of clear plastic to discourage vandals, the California-based company said.

Image credit: Lime
QR codes will now be sealed under a layer of plastic to prevent theft. Image credit: Lime

Electric transport

It said the vast majority of vandalism was caused by non-users.

“We have clear steps in place to prevent QR code vandalism, including deploying protective covers on all vehicle codes,” the company said in a statement.

“By creating a safe and reliable service in London, we are ensuring we have a long-term impact on improving congestion and air pollution in the city we love.”

Use of Lime e-scooters increased by 40 percent in Manchester during the fuel shortage, with e-scooter and e-bike use in London rising by 20 percent, Lime said.

E-scooters are illegal on UK public roads, but Lime and two other e-scooter companies began a year-long trial in London beginning in June.

Legal status

Dozens of other UK towns and cities, including Birmingham and Manchester, are also taking part in e-scooter trials after a change in legislation last year.

Awareness of e-scooter legislation in the UK remains low, and in June the Metropolitan Police said they had seized about 800 privately owned e-scooters so far this year.

E-scooters are classed as motor vehicles a licence and insurance are required to operate them, while e-bikes are still classed as bicycles.

Rental companies such as Lime arrange for insurance and require users to upload a valid driving licence when they sign up.

The supporters of such e-vehicles argue they are the future of transport, but rollouts elsewhere in the world have proven controversial due to safety and other concerns.