Jumping onto an e-scooter to get home after a big night in the city could become more difficult under potential new rules designed to combat scootering under the influence.
Time curfews and no-go zones outside popular nightspots where there is a high risk of someone being intoxicated are both options being considered by the ACT Government.
Transport officials told an annual reports hearing last Friday that the idea wouldn’t be to stop people from using an e-scooter but to “remove the temptation” for somebody who would be potentially better off getting a cab.
A Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate executive branch manager John Bowdery said if any curfews were imposed they would be highly targeted.
“There’s potential consideration … as an example to prevent someone starting a trip directly outside of Mooseheads late on a Friday night where there’s a high chance somebody might be intoxicated,” Mr Bowdery said.
Last year, the government introduced harsh drink-riding laws into the Legislative Assembly which will be debated later this year along with a range of other amendments to the Territory’s road transport legislation.
If passed, anyone caught riding an e-scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be slapped with a $3200 fine.
A three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule will be implemented, which was a key recommendation of an earlier review into the e-scooter scheme.
The review found most Canberrans are happy and would like to see the e-scooters arrive in their neighbourhood – although there were some safety concerns.
Under the rules, multiple acts of non-compliance such as not wearing a helmet or parking incorrectly could lead to a user’s account being cancelled.
Any serious misconduct will be referred to ACT Policing.
The ACT Government also introduced legislation last year that allowed police to direct a person to either get off, or not get on, a personal mobility device.
The introduction of the new legislation comes before the expansion of the e-scooter scheme later this year.
The first phase will connect the two current zones of the city centre and Belconnen.
The scheme will then roll out to Woden and Gungahlin, before areas such as Tuggeranong, Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley.
It’s hoped all of Canberra’s major town centres can be connected through a shared path network so riders can be kept off major arterial roads.
Mr Bowdery said Transport Canberra is also working with local community groups and key stakeholders to ensure the expansion of the scheme goes smoothly and to “identify any issues”.
“The key issue for the rollout will be repeating that engagement with local community areas, finding out where there are any issues, avoiding potential challenges such as funnelling these devices onto main arterial roads where we don’t want them,” he said.
Both e-scooter operators, Neuron Mobility and Beam, have welcomed the opportunity to expand their services across Canberra.