HONOLULU — The rentable electric scooters that have popped up around Honolulu are not legal, city officials said.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell sent a letter to the company called Lime last week, telling it not to deploy the scooter-sharing program.
But the company on Friday rolled out the scooters anyway, Hawaii News Now reported .
"This kind of company coming in from outside of our state, disrespecting the laws that we have in place, I find outrageous and it's not the kind of thing you want in a city like this," Caldwell said.
Riders unlock the scooters using a smart-phone app and then leave them wherever. The scooters aren't tied to docks or charging stations.
Caldwell said there have already been problems with the scooters being left around the city.
Police officers in Waikiki have been picking up abandoned scooters as lost property and storing them until an owner claims them.
"They're in our bus stops, causing ADA problems, they're on our sidewalks, people can trip on them," Caldwell said. "They're in the Ala Wai Canal. They're in our parks. What they're doing is clearly illegal."
The concept is so new that city officials say they weren't ready for the program. But Lime disputes that it wasn't authorized to roll out the scooters, saying it worked closely with officials over the past several months to design the program.
On Monday, Lime issued an appeal to residents to support the operation so the company continue operating.
"If you enjoy riding Lime and want to make sure Honolulu continues to have affordable, convenient and clean transportation options, we need you to take just a moment to send a message to your city councilmembers sharing how important this new smart mobility option is and how it's helping transform how you get around town," the company said.
Company officials said they believe the launch of their pilot program is permitted, as long as it's safe and consistent with city ordinances.
The company said people have already taken more than 1,400 rides in Honolulu.