3 May 2021

E-scooters the new terror for commuters

| Ian Bushnell
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E-scooters are becoming more popular for commuting, and some riders are a risk to themselves and others using the paths and roads. Photo: File.

I was driving to work the other morning when an e-scooter rider flew out of a side street in front of me and sped off down the path towards Woden.

Fortunately, I was slowing down as I approached the roundabout and he was travelling at a rate of knots to make the crossing in time.

But dressed in grey garb, wearing a dark helmet and riding a black scooter, it was the perfect combination for him to disappear into the tarmac if the sun was not shining.

This was a scooter owner, not one of the hire folk on an easily identifiable brightly coloured vehicle, and obviously experienced at his morning run to work.

It was one of those driver moments that shock you into high alert and leave you muttering obscenities about the lunacy of two-wheeled commuters who have nothing between them and the bitumen or bumper bar.

The first thing is that you don’t expect a scooter to fly across a road – they are not supposed to be there, and I doubt that under the road rules, having a peek each way on the fly before you get your morning adrenalin piercing the gap to get across to the other path is legal.

But that is moot if you end up under a wheel or crashing into a windscreen.

READ ALSO Consider yourself warned! Safely riding e-scooters this holiday season

The top legal speed for scooters in the ACT is 25 km/h, but privately owned jobs would be capable of much more than that. The world’s 10 fastest scooters start at 70 km/h and top out at 121 km/h.

So we’re talking about the same speed as cars on a much smaller platform and even less visible than bicycles.

I can understand the growing popularity – it is a quick, cheap, no-frills commute, but unless riders, like cyclists, stick to the road rules, it is only a matter of time before we have our first scooter tragedy.

For example, I also recently saw double-dinkers cruising down a path in blatant contravention of the rules.

While e-scooters will add to the city’s driver terrors, they also will make paths even more of a sharing, and not necessarily caring, experience. The potential for a high-speed collision between a scooter and a Lycra-clad cyclist is now heightened. For those of us who like to take a walk, stay alert and be prepared to be alarmed.

But if I sound too much like a wowser, there are legal ramifications for scooter riders who like to skirt the rules and not just the odd fine.

If someone is injured, the burden of compensation will fall on the rider who, like my friend the other morning, decided the rules don’t count and he’d take his chances on the roads.

Police last year promised to crack down on risky scooter behaviour, but obviously, the message has not gotten through.

For government, the advent of the e-scooter only adds to the infrastructure needs of an increasingly congested paths network and a need to monitor the phenomenon and make more laws if need be, especially if the injury toll and bill starts to rise dramatically.

But common courtesy and common sense will go a long way to keeping our commutes uneventful. That means you, Scooter Fiend!

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Finagen_erection1:14 pm 29 May 21

escooters are fine, ebikes are fine. Just some common sense needed, and for muppets who cannot do the right thing on them…same muppets who’d burn outs or dump trash. We are always going to have pond scum.

We’d best get ready cause equad copters are coming and they will radicalise our view of personal transportation devices.

George Watling12:29 am 12 May 21

These things also generate vast amounts of e-waste and carbon pollution. Studies show they last about 9 months before they are scrap and the trucks that drive around to pick them up for recharging run on diesel.

Capital Retro8:39 am 12 May 21

Spot on.

What goes on behind the scenes is usually at odds with the “clean & green” propaganda we hear.

Just like a wind “farm” generator which has a huge carbon footprint to get it made and installed and in about 20 years they will be going to landfill because little of them can be recycled.

So all those wonderful ‘non green’ products you love like coal power plants are just perfect products are they CR, which have zero carbon footprint related to their building, installation or subsequent removal?

Quick quick, look over there sums up your usual approach on this stuff.

Capital Retro11:07 am 12 May 21

Coal power plants have never claimed to be “green and clean” JS9. They may not be “perfect” in your eyes but without their contribution to civilization we probably wouldn’t be having this debate.

Several decommissioned coal power stations are being repurposed by the way. The one at Wallarewang NSW is going to house one of those “30 second wonders”, AKA a big battery.

And for your requested “quick, quick, look over there” moment, are you one of the warmists who also believe the steam coming from the coal power stations’ cooling towers is damaging the planet because that is implied when we see it on TV?

Capital Retro4:14 pm 01 May 21

“The major positive for scooters for me is they use less energy than cars”

You may be surprised to learn that that is the same outcome for everyone else too.

Angry Soldier1:47 pm 01 May 21

my god what’s happening to this country, how fast do you think a push bike or skateboard can do going down hill, how many car accidents are there daily, how many people use there mobiles while driving, police should just penalise E riders, but the way everyone’s going they will get banned, I’m a pensioned veteran who locked himself in the house for years till I found the freedom of eskating, I’ve spent 1000s, on protective gear and boards, just like the gel guns, I would be more scared of a person with a syringe attached to a broom pole, or a super soaker filled with acid, than someone carrying a fake 40 thousand dollar automatic weaoon, the kids go in the bush and play cops n robbers, stop winging about a few incidents, where the police should enforce it, before our kids have nothing to do, then you can winge about them taking drugs or b and E, bmx track, what’s, the rest of the world embraces e riders, with tracks and charge stations now the govt are talking about penelising people that paid good money for solar panels and walls, because I don’t pay elec bills they owe me, so much for greener earth

I know duty of care is a quaint concept these days but doesn’t the government have a duty of care to keep the risk of accidents low? Under the current enforcement regime (minimal) the risk is now much higher as indicated by hospital admissions.

Capital Retro10:50 am 30 Apr 21

It’s all about the “e” and not the scooter. I’m surprised that the virtue signaling government hasn’t mandated that everyone should only use an electric toothbrush.

I wonder if scooters with small petrol motors (instead on electric) would be allowed?

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