E-scooters the new terror for commuters

Ian Bushnell 3 May 2021 69
E-scooters

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!


What's Your Opinion?


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69 Responses to E-scooters the new terror for commuters
Finagen_erection Finagen_erection 1:14 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 Watling George Watling 12:29 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 Retro Capital Retro 8:39 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.

    JS9 JS9 9:02 am 12 May 21

    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 Retro Capital Retro 11:07 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?

Christopher Cuba Rabanal Christopher Cuba Rabanal 8:15 pm 03 May 21

Get with the times

Tom Barker Tom Barker 10:00 am 02 May 21

This article FINALLY highlights who these Escooters are hurting most of all. Won't someone think of our poor poor car dealerships!?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:14 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.

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 3:18 pm 01 May 21

Had a near miss with a private one a few weeks ago. The crazy woman pilot did a wobbly right hand turn on a street from the left of the road without signalling. I reckon she was travelling close to a surprisingly brisk 50 km/h just before she attempted the turn. But she had a helmet on.

    Ruth Spisbah Ruth Spisbah 1:39 pm 02 May 21

    Is this Bill Gemmell from FACHSIA? ... years ago? This is Ruth!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:04 pm 02 May 21

    Bill Gemmell Sounds like a pedestrian with wheels 😁

    I believe the rented scooters are limited electronically to 25 kms; 15 kms in the Parliamentary Triangle. Although maybe it was a private scooter without those restrictions.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 2:07 pm 02 May 21

    Julie Macklin clearly a superior device. Had a fellow doing letterbox pamphlet delivery the other day. He told me he was getting 200km out of a charge and it had reduced his delivery run time by a lot.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 2:14 pm 02 May 21

    Ruth Spisbah sent you a pm

Angry Soldier Angry Soldier 1:47 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

Elizabeth Martin Elizabeth Martin 10:51 am 01 May 21

A few. As I’m recovering from injuries that limit my mobility they are really scary at night. Also have met too many injured while riding to want to give them a go.

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:15 am 01 May 21

The major positive for scooters for me is they use less energy than cars and don't need as much space. The major negative of them for me, is that they don't provide the exercise that walking or cycling provides, and most people don't get enough exercise for their health.

Margaret Edwards Margaret Edwards 8:05 am 01 May 21

My 44 yo son has fallen off one twice. Broken bones both times. In fact, one night both of my sons ended up in emergency after falling on scooters in separate accidents in different towns in different states. Both broke their arms.

    Jacob Cherry Jacob Cherry 5:32 pm 02 May 21

    Margaret Edwards yeah s d how many drinks they have? To say that's e scooters fault is pretty ridiculous

Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 6:16 am 01 May 21

Such negativity and risk aversion!! No wonder Canberra has been called the city without a soul. The truth is that the vast majority of scooter riders do so safely and courteously... And young people in particular find them fun and convenient. I don't use them... But its great to see others using them. They don't seem to resent my use of Canberras great system of nature reserves and bike paths and roads. Live and let live please! We have already lost so many activities for young people to enjoy...

    Matthew Warne Matthew Warne 6:21 am 01 May 21

    Jorge Garcia when they open the borders I think you and I should take some out for a spin !

    Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 6:27 am 01 May 21

    Matthew Warne deal! But I'll bring my own helmet 😅

    John Dennington John Dennington 8:03 am 04 May 21

    What???????????? A Scooter????? Do you want to borow the Bandit?

Marty Collins Marty Collins 6:08 am 01 May 21

Yes you are a wowser

Amy LD Amy LD 5:35 pm 30 Apr 21

Stephanie Burgin 🤣🤣🤣 I know someone lol

Nick Swain Nick Swain 3:11 pm 30 Apr 21

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.

Margaret Lay Margaret Lay 2:05 pm 30 Apr 21

They go way too fast!

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 1:36 pm 30 Apr 21

They can be quite scary, depends on the rider. I’m a pedestrian, see plenty of good and bad. The worst, late at night, was one scooter, 3 riders, no helmets on a city footpath.

Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 12:38 pm 30 Apr 21

As a pedestrian I find them irritating. Being whizzed up on whilst walking along the pavement and getting a shock plays havoc with my broken arm and encountering the bloody things in the middle of random pavements makes me want to kick them. Just waiting for someone to be injured by one - only a matter of time.

Jim Mckee Jim Mckee 12:32 pm 30 Apr 21

Where are the statistics for this 'terror'? I have the ones for cars already, the ones for scooters seem to be missing. A bit like the scare about dangerous cyclists. Your chances are higher as a pedestrian of being killed by lightening than by a cyclist.

Nick Mason Nick Mason 11:44 am 30 Apr 21

So he managed to safely cross at an intersection. Let’s introduce a ton of rules to combat a problem that doesn’t exist except in the minds of paranoid conservatives.

Let’s take a deep breath.

If there are lots of people around, ride slowly. If there aren’t, go faster. Every commuter on a scooter is one less car.

Racheal Lizars Racheal Lizars 10:59 am 30 Apr 21

Tell me you have big boomer energy without telling me you have big boomer energy 😋

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