22 January 2021

Canberrans urged to ‘scoot-safe’ as riders rack up 100,000 trips

| Lottie Twyford
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Safety Ambassador

Neuron’s ‘Safety Ambassadors’ will soon take to Canberra’s streets. Photo: Supplied.

E-scooters in the ACT remain divisive – love them or hate them, everyone seems to have an opinion.

But given that more than a 100,000 scooter trips have already been taken, it’s clear many Canberrans are keen to get out and give the new craze a go. Others, however, are voicing valid safety concerns, particularly around riders not wearing helmets, engaging in risky behaviours such as drinking and riding, or not sharing the footpath with pedestrians safely.

Police are also concerned about reports of them being ridden in the early hours of morning, presumably after a few drinks have been consumed. As Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman said only a few weeks ago, getting an e-scooter home after a night on the town with your mates is not a good idea because DUI charges can and do apply.

READ ALSO: Scooting off to try Canberra’s newest craze

ACT Policing warned users – follow the rules or face fines of up to $153.

In response to community concerns, both of the ACT’s scooter operators – Neuron and Beam – are looking to do their bit to educate Canberrans.

Neuron's ScootSafe Safety Ambassadors are hard to miss

Neuron’s ScootSafe Safety Ambassadors will be easy to spot in bright orange. Photo: Supplied.

Neuron (owner of the bright orange fleet) is rolling out a program called ‘Scoot Safe’ which will consist of a series of briefings led by their team of roving safety ambassadors.

The briefings will take place between 5 and 8 November beginning at City Walk, before moving to the Kingston Foreshore, Regatta Point and finally Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

If you’re one of the many Canberrans who have already jumped on an e-scooter – or even if you’ve been a little scared to do so – now is the time to score yourself some free credits for future rides, and learn to be a safer rider at the same time.

Attendees will sign a pledge to be a ‘Safe Rider’ after completing the briefing.

READ ALSO The Best Electric Scooter Shops & Servicing in Canberra

Neuron also clarified that they can and will ban riders who repeatedly break rules or ride dangerously.

Although the law states e-scooter riders have to be at least 12 to ride unsupervised, to ride a Neuron scooter you have to be 18.

For Neuron, it’s one rider per scooter – so, no riding in tandem – and it’s an especially big no-no to have children riding in front.

Beam (the purple fleet) has partnered with Road Ready to deliver an e-scooter safety course which will be held on 14 November at Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

Rider safety promotion

Road Ready and Beam have partnered to deliver an e-scooter safety course. Photo: Road Ready site.

For Beam, scooter safety is a “shared responsibility” and they are hopeful that every rider follows both the “letter and the spirit of the rules” so that Canberra’s shared spaces are accessible to all.

First-timers can also pop along to try the scooters (no booking required).

This course is free and, upon successful completion, participants will receive a free helmet and $25 credit for future rides. Spots are filling up quickly and bookings are essential.

Before attending, you will need to register online, download the Beam app and complete a short safety quiz.

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It’s sadly ironic that Beam’s ‘road ready’ safety poster features at least two models, if not all three, wearing the purple helmets incorrectly and unsafely. They are far too far back on their heads, leaving their foreheads fully exposed. Allow two fingers between your eyebrows and your helmet … not a whole hand.

Regrettably, this poster, which purportedly advocates the safe use of scooters, merely normalises an unsafe practice that needs correcting.

I don’t know if the ACT Government has a guide, but here’s the NSW Government’s guide to the proper fitment of a bicycle/scooter helmet: https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/bicycle-riders/helmets-gear.html

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