Cyclists get out of the way – there’s an even more annoying mode of transport in town

Zoya Patel 21 April 2021 74
eScooters

Cyclists more annoying than scooters? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Photo: File.

There’s a well-known divide in Canberra between cyclists and motorists.

Many drivers can think of nothing more annoying than a group (herd? troop? swarm?) of lycra-clad adults riding three-abreast down major arteries of the city or heading up the highway, forcing cars to slowly loop around them while they mutinously plug on with their pedalling.

And cyclists are sick to death of irresponsible drivers wielding their cars like weapons, ignoring laws about sharing the road and driving with a minimum 1-metre gap between them and cyclists.

My views oscillate inconsistently, depending on whether I’m in my car or on my bike, but until we finally emulate the Netherlands and put separated bike lanes alongside every road in Canberra, the debate will rage on.

These past few months, however, I’ve found myself staring at the receding backs of cyclists on the road with wistful nostalgia, remembering the days when the only irritant on a footpath was the occasional slow-riding hipster on a cruiser, with most bikes the bane of motorists’ existence, not pedestrians. These days, it’s hard to walk in a straight line anywhere in Civic without almost getting mowed down by a scooter.

Electric scooters are probably the most annoying addition to our transport options I’ve ever encountered. Clearly, the popularity of scooters has accelerated faster than the enforcement of traffic laws because people are riding chaotically on roads and footpaths alike.


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Just this week I had to slam on my brakes as a young guy on an electric scooter zoomed down a driveway and onto the shoulder of the road as I drove past. He seemed to think that riding on the road was his remit by virtue of being on a wheeled object. I disagree.

And then, when walking the final block on the footpath to my workplace in Civic, a man riding a scooter whizzed directly towards me, riding on the wrong side of the unmarked-but-assumed line down the middle of the path, going at what looked like 60 km/h. I practically had to leap into another pedestrian to get out of the way.

These are just a few incidents of many, and I’m certain I’m not the only one suffering the side effects of scooter popularity.


READ ALSO: Police issue a blunt warning to e-scooter users: don’t be an idiot


I accept that people seem to enjoy electric scooters. It’s not my bag, but I can appreciate that they’re convenient, take less energy than a bike or walking, and are small and lightweight enough to easily store in the office during the workday.

But can riders just follow the road rules, please? They do exist. Otherwise, we’ll have to add another party to the feud between cyclists and motorists – maybe now they’ll actually have something to agree on in their mutual distaste for the scooter mob.

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74 Responses to Cyclists get out of the way – there’s an even more annoying mode of transport in town
Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:46 am 26 Apr 21

Having speed limitations on these scooters in areas like the Parliamentary area is akin to the “limp home mode” that many unfortunate people have on their diesel cars fitted with a DPF.

Gavin Harlow Gavin Harlow 10:13 pm 24 Apr 21

If a bike has a throttle it’s considered a motorcycle, and is severely regulated.An ebicycle still needs to be pedalled, and has a top assistance speed of 25kph. I have seen multiple e scooters on bike paths using throttle travelling well in excess if this possibly 40-50kph. I am not anti e scooter, but clearly they are not regulated to the same extent as e bicycles

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:07 pm 25 Apr 21

    Gavin Harlow The purple and orange scooters do have some control on them in the Parliamentary area, and drop to 15k.p.h speed (geofencing). Outside of that I believe they are restricted 25 kph. If you have seen faster scooters, they must have been privately owned ones. There are rules regarding speed though. "The speed limit is 15km/h for footpaths and 25 km/h on shared/bike paths. You must slow down to 10km/h when using a crossing," https://www.cityservices.act.gov.au/roads-and-paths/road-safety/e-scooters

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 6:41 pm 24 Apr 21

Didn't read it but that headline/byline is peak Canberra, I reckon.

Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 2:04 pm 24 Apr 21

Bike riders and scooter riders are a mix of polite and rude individuals. Those rude ones will make our lives uncomfortable if they can regardless of what vehicle they use, simply because this is the sort of person they are... the difference with the bikes and the scooters though is that I can at least hear most of the scooters coming up behind me, bikes seem to be quieter. ... just from an old womans perspective..

Michael Woodhead Michael Woodhead 1:41 pm 24 Apr 21

No, they are great and most scooter riders are responsible. Think about the 'some bad cyclists' and the 'some bad drivers'. Scooters get people around without using cars. The riders are getting fresh air and some exercise. Wonderful but with a few teething troubles.

whatwik whatwik 10:08 am 24 Apr 21

Haven’t seen too many cyclists behaving badly recently (apart from the odd one charging across a crossing) but on Northbourne have seen windscreen washer extortionists in moving traffic (thought they are not permitted at light rail crossings??) and an unhelmeted couple on a scooter weaving across three lanes of peak hour 60 kmh traffic in the twilight.

Ridden sensibly, scooters sound like a good idea and fun but they do tend to come up on pedestrians quite quickly which could cause anxiety and possibly falls for startled oldies in particular.

David Vesey-Brown David Vesey-Brown 8:02 am 24 Apr 21

Still not as bad as cyclists

Claudio Neumann Claudio Neumann 7:54 pm 23 Apr 21

Jesse Pricsina I feel these vibes very strongly. also get off my lawn darn kids with their scooters

Michael Ilsley Michael Ilsley 6:59 pm 23 Apr 21

I love scooters, fabulous!

Peter Brierley Peter Brierley 11:43 am 23 Apr 21

If I have to follow ALL the rules to drive my car (on the road) then why are these SAME rules not applied to ALL other road users? Where is the licencing, registration, visible identification (i.e. number plates) and INSURANCE that I am required to carry?

If people want to use the roads, then it should be the SAME rules for all. If you don't want the abide by those SAME rules, stay off the roads.

    David Jenkins David Jenkins 12:22 am 24 Apr 21

    Road rules aren't the same as licencing 🤷‍♂️. Make up your mind which you're going to have a whinge about.

    Given horses are classified as vehicles, should they be registered and display licence plates too? Just saying...

nerdfrenzy nerdfrenzy 11:07 am 23 Apr 21

I use a scooter to commute to and from work everyday. I’m always aware of people sharing the bike paths that I use. I do find that most people I come across either have headphones in and don’t hear me ringing my bell or they are walking theirs dogs and taking up the whole pathway. I think there needs to be consideration from everyone on the pathways. But I do agree that some of people using the hire scooters are less considerate than the people using their scooters on a daily basis

Jaeme Ogilvie Jaeme Ogilvie 11:06 am 23 Apr 21

Escooter owners are not a problem as rule, I think its super important they are not grouped in here. Unfortunately there seems to be a particular element that utilise rental scooters causing rampant chaos (including crazy displays of road riding). Combine them with inconsiderate bike riders moving at warp speed and Ive got PTSD from taking doggos on a bridge to bridge. Focus needs to be on enforcing rider rules for renters and speed limits for cyclist travelling in busy shared path areas such as the lake loop etc. And to the fruit loop who completely lost control of his eskateboard the other week and crashed unapologetically into me my friend and one of my dogs while we were staunchly keeping to the left of the path. Those expletives you heard come from me - I meant every word. Not because you were riding an eskateboard but because your a tool!

Tony P Carroll Tony P Carroll 8:38 am 23 Apr 21

I ride a scooter and its difficult to be considerate as you move so much faster than a bike that is powered by your legs (I used to ride to work as well). Even doing trial laps around the lake I was annoying me with my lack of anticipation and consideration of others. I feel this would be improved if escooters were permitted to use cycle lanes instead of footpaths.

James Strang James Strang 8:28 am 23 Apr 21

Completely agree. There is so much noise around cyclists not following rules and how they should be punished. Whereas electric scooters are just this harmless novelty in a honeymoon period.

Alan Fish Alan Fish 10:50 pm 22 Apr 21

The most annoying transport type in the ACT is the average ACT driver.

Ian Ian 10:34 pm 22 Apr 21

While I see plenty of under-age and helmetless riding of scooters, I can’t say I’ve seen much irresponsible riding. My only real bugbear is them being left lying around all over the place, especially on or right next to footpaths. Having a blind person in my family I’m very conscious of the potential trip hazard they present.

This isn’t a Canberra thing by the way. I was in Adelaide recently and it’s the same there, scooters being left lying around all over the place.

The obvious answer is that the scooter providers need to come up with a better way to enforce riders returning them to designated locations, or get better at removing them quickly from unsuitable places.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:03 pm 22 Apr 21

“My views oscillate inconsistently, depending on whether I’m in my car or on my bike”

Quite possibly the most insightful thing ever said on this website – it’s like the E = mc2 of contemporary Canberra.

William Yates William Yates 2:45 pm 22 Apr 21

I have been a Mobility Scooter driver for a few years now and school children on scooters have been a danger to me far longer than E-Scooters have been around. Bicycle riders have been far more sensible when approaching or passing me than scooter riders attempting to perform tricks at the most dangerous times.

Nick Swain Nick Swain 2:37 pm 22 Apr 21

I agree that attitude is important. Genuine sharing and consideration works well. Legally, pedestrians have priority. I also agree that some shared paths are too narrow to share even with others using the same mode of transport. Some heritage areas have narrow footpaths from a time when bicycles were prohibited from using them. There are few ramps from the footpath to the road – just a kerb with no lip. These paths are hopeless for mobility scooters and prams yet alone scooters and bicycles.

mark boast mark boast 1:13 pm 22 Apr 21

Another stirrer article where we decide on a presumed common irritant. Isn’t the purpose obvious? And why respond except to vent? Oops! Just did!

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