Government needs to recharge e-scooter rules as careless behaviour drains community goodwill

Ian Bushnell 10 January 2021 58
Beam e-scooters at Ainslie Place in Civic. Photo: Photox - Canberra Photography Services.

Beam e-scooters at Ainslie Place in Civic. They can end far and wide and not so neatly parked. Photo: Photox – Canberra Photography Services.

It’s time for ACT Government to take another look at the e-scooter hire scheme as the brightly coloured devices litter the landscape, rider injuries mount and the hazards they create on shared paths become more apparent.

There are 1500 trackable scooters available in Belconnen and central Canberra from two companies, Beam and Neuron, which employ teams to collect abandoned machines.

They obviously have their work cut out, with scooters turning up in more places than just beside or on paths. Fishing them out of Lake Burley Griffin and Lake Ginninderra is a priority, but they have also been seen on Parkways, other odd spots, and in suburbs outside of their supposedly geo-fenced zones.

Those left on shared paths are obviously a safety hazard to cyclists and other wheeled users such as those with a disability.

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Many riders themselves have failed to come to grips with the scooters, which have a top speed of 25 km/h, with 60 people presenting to emergency departments at Canberra and Calvary Hospitals with scooter-related injuries in the first few months since their introduction.

This follows the European experience where scooter injuries were rife after their take-up.

Then there are those who flout the road rules, including riding after a few drinks, failing to wear a helmet, or are just plain inconsiderate.

The scooters are supposed to provide a cheap, environmentally friendly way for people to get around, particularly visitors, and some Canberrans have bought their own for commuting but the large number strewn haphazardly around the city and the safety issues raised require a second look.

The government needs to find a way, though carrot or stick, for riders not to be so careless about what they do with the scooters at journey’s end.

It also needs to evaluate whether adding scooters to the increasingly busy shared path network is viable.

Perhaps a reduction in speed limits from the top of 25 km/h on a shared or bike path, and the 15 km/h on a footpath would reduce the incidence of accidents and potential for collisions.

It may have to increase and impose penalties to hit the hip pocket of users as a deterrent.

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All this goes against the spirit of what is supposed to be a fun experience that adds that seemingly all-important vibrancy to the city, at least that’s the pitch from providers.

But the bottom line is they are transportation vehicles using public spaces that need to be regulated so the city amenity is not an eyesore and ensure the wellbeing of citizens.

It’s not yet time to ban the things but to allow the current free-for-all to continue is not a goer.

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58 Responses to Government needs to recharge e-scooter rules as careless behaviour drains community goodwill
William Coats William Coats 5:13 pm 13 Jan 21

hopefully the problems we have with the scooters will be teething issues and will pass. In saying that I have seen so many near misses where youngsters out having fun have nearly collided with elderly people. I would not be surprised to see a deatht from these scooters, a collision with an 80 year old would be the end I would think.

Wanda Lind Wanda Lind 6:47 am 12 Jan 21

It is not the companies that are causing the mess. It is the users.

Have a return station, so they are not just dumped. helmets are just dropped on the ground, scooters just left where they stop. You do not just dump a hire car on the side of the road.

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 12:12 pm 12 Jan 21

    The companies are not much better. They are filling the motorcycle parking zones in Civic with the scooters (which is a parking violation and deprives motorbike riders of places to park). There's footage of the scooter companies unloading the scooters from their truck into the motorcycle parking.

    They will learn quickly enough when someone takes an angle grinder to the handlebar stem of every illegally parked scooter though...

Carlos Santa Carlos Santa 7:28 pm 11 Jan 21

Saturday the drunks were on the road using a milk crate as a seat flying down limestone!


Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 7:14 pm 11 Jan 21

Just ban em 🤣

Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 1:36 pm 11 Jan 21

People just don’t give a rats but they will care if they get billed for recklessness , dumping leaving them in stupid places even half way down the motorway 🤷🏿‍♀️

Mind you you carnt even get right away walking across a road without getting peeped by merch drivers even when the little green man is flashing you to go .

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 11:57 am 11 Jan 21

Old man continues to believe he is the voice of Canberrra.

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:37 am 11 Jan 21

Fortunately here in the inner south I haven't seen a problem with the scooters yet. I often see them neatly lined up at the local shops. Also some have been left in my street, but they weren't interfering with anyone, and the next day or two they were gone. Driving around Canberra I also see them in places, and the overwhelming majority of the scooters have been left in a safe way. A small minority of them could have been parked in a better place (such as not on a lawned slope where they fell over), but even most of those were not hazardous. As for Civic, the last time I was there was a couple of weeks ago, and I don't remember seeing any problems with scooters. One parked where I wanted to tie my bike, but that's jealously on my part, as they got the spot I wanted, not that the scooter rider had done the wrong thing.

Robert Hawes Robert Hawes 9:55 am 11 Jan 21

The article contains only one suggestion as to what should be done. That is to reduce their top speed.

Tama Ra Tama Ra 8:26 am 11 Jan 21

it'll take a while for people to learn how to not be idiots. give them time.

    Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 8:30 am 11 Jan 21

    Tama Ra history in other cities in Australia, and around the globe, suggests otherwise.

    Tama Ra Tama Ra 8:32 am 11 Jan 21

    Please link this history @jessemahoney, what sources have you gotten that opinion from?

    Lisa Mahon Lisa Mahon 11:18 am 11 Jan 21

    I dont know Tama Ra how many years have Canberrans had to learn how to not be idiots in cars and yet they still can't merge like a zipper or keep left unless overtaking 🤣

    Nick Savino Nick Savino 11:21 am 11 Jan 21

    Police could walk around Civic and get up the idiots its not hard

    Jeff O'Regan Jeff O'Regan 1:35 pm 11 Jan 21

    What Police!! we have a Police force do we?

    Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 2:39 pm 11 Jan 21

    Tama Ra nah... The human race will be extinct* before then.. 😉

    Rainer Busacker Rainer Busacker 5:15 pm 11 Jan 21

    Nick Savino oh, come on, there are not enough police to do the important things in this town.

    Rainer Busacker Rainer Busacker 5:16 pm 11 Jan 21

    Anthony Grice distinct or extinct?

    Dan Smith Dan Smith 7:21 am 12 Jan 21

    Zero police on the streets = people being idiots. Not rocket science Mr Barr. Get a local force for community policing please. Doesn’t need to be huge but needs to have a visible presence.

    Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 10:34 pm 12 Jan 21

    Tama Ra you've never travelled and seen share scooters and bikes dumped, trashed, or gutted for batteries?

Matthew Waugh Matthew Waugh 8:13 am 11 Jan 21

If the government bans Escooters will all the people who have paid for private ones be able to return them to an access Canberra shopfront and get a payment? It would be highly unfair for those that have paid $1k+ to then have an asset that they cannot use just because some people are wankers and can’t share the path

    Jesse Mahoney Jesse Mahoney 8:29 am 11 Jan 21

    Matthew Waugh read the article. It has nothing to do with privately owned escooters.

    Rainer Busacker Rainer Busacker 5:13 pm 11 Jan 21

    Matthew Waugh I don't think it's about ownership, rather the littering of public places by the users of who abandon them when finished. Personally, I would like to see the commercial hire of them banned.

Tara Murray Tara Murray 8:03 am 11 Jan 21

This is why we cant have nice things 🙄🤦‍♀️

Guy Hosking Guy Hosking 7:55 am 11 Jan 21

The problem is that none of the users seem to be aware that they must give way to pedestrians. The anti-social element that deliberately parks to block footpaths doesn't help their cause either. I've seen them parked three in a row across the footpath at Dickson shops and at Haig Park.

    Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 8:01 am 11 Jan 21

    Guy Hosking They are supposrd to be left on public land, usually a nature strip / verge.

    Guy Hosking Guy Hosking 8:07 am 11 Jan 21

    Kytie Mclign Yes but not deliberately blocking footpaths when there was plenty of room elsewhere at Haig Park.

Guy Speake Guy Speake 7:36 am 11 Jan 21

Captain Buzzkill rides again.

Pam Perkins Pam Perkins 7:29 am 11 Jan 21

Same in Adelaide dumped everywhere

Dane Roberts Dane Roberts 7:27 am 11 Jan 21

Old Man Yells At Cars

Brad Rogers Brad Rogers 7:22 am 11 Jan 21

A few idiots do the wrong thing as expected, so ban them? *yawn*

    Peter Harney Peter Harney 9:09 am 11 Jan 21

    Brad Rogers *shrug* Governments love their knee-jerk reactions..

    Nick Savino Nick Savino 11:19 am 11 Jan 21

    Agreed a nothing story again

    Randy Goldberg Randy Goldberg 11:36 am 11 Jan 21

    Brad Rogers please define "a few". I have seen lots (15 to 20) "incidents" where the scooters are being used by children definitely under 18.

    I've seen half a dozen racing "incidents", usage on streets when there were footpaths, multiple people on one scooter, and let's not get started on the number of people not wearing helmets.

    I am not saying to ban the scooters but, maybe a system where the scooters are picked up/returned to allocated depots and the scooters should be locked to a pole/other scooters and only unlocked when tapped to activate and can only be "returned" when locked back up at a depot otherwise, the clock keeps running and the charges keep going until a daily maximum is reached.

    I know it wouldn't be as convenient as the drop and go anywhere logic but it might help with the random abandoning actions happening now.

Adam Jovanovic Adam Jovanovic 7:18 am 11 Jan 21

I've had to take scooters back to the shops twice after some random thinks its OK just to dump it on my front yard for whatever reason

    Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 8:00 am 11 Jan 21

    Adam Jovanovic The eScooters are GPS-enabled, so They actually can be left on a nature strip / verge - probably their own, though.

    Ian Don Ian Don 8:55 am 11 Jan 21

    Adam Jovanovic why. The mob running the scooters have then tracked with gps and will drive around to collect/recharge/reposition as needed.

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