4 September 2019

Road rules set to change to accommodate e-scooters in the ACT

| Lachlan Roberts
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E-scooters are set to be legalised in the next three months. Photo: Lachlan Roberts.

E-scooter enthusiasts will soon be able to travel around the nation’s capital in their two-wheeled vehicles with the ACT Government hoping to change the road rules to accommodate the new mode of transport by the end of the year.

E-scooters and similar devices are currently not permitted to be used in public areas in the ACT but Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury hopes to have that changed in the coming months.

After a month of public consultation which saw more than 650 people fill out a survey, Mr Rattenbury said the Government will now develop a framework for the use of e-scooters which ACT Policing will enforce.

The YourSay community survey asked the community’s views on what the legal maximum speed on an e-scooter should be, where these devices should be allowed to travel, and what restrictions should be put in place on who could use the devices.

Nearly 50 per cent of respondents said 16-year-olds and up should be allowed to ride these devices unsupervised. Riding e-scooters in bike lanes had strong support with 89 per cent as well as allowing them to be ridden on footpaths (75 per cent).

Mr Rattenbury said the consultation also showed areas that people were worried about, with older Canberrans sharing their concern about e-scooters being quiet and difficult to hear when approaching.

“We will take these contributions on board in developing a framework that encourages the use of e-scooters, while not compromising on road safety,” Mr Rattenbury said. “We heard that the use of safety equipment such as a helmet, bell, braking system and lights are necessary safety requirements for these devices.”

The maximum speed for e-scooters was a major talking point, with 44 per cent saying the maximum speed limit fo the scooters should be under 25 kilometres per hour, while 36 per cent supported 25 kilometres per hour as the maximum speed.

“Particularly on speed, people have drawn a distinction between being on a dedicated bike path compared to being in a high-pedestrian area,” Mr Rattenbury said. “So we will look at differentiated speed limits.”

Mr Rattenbury said the Government will also run a tender process to see which operators would like to operate a share-scooter theme in the ACT after the framework is introduced, with at least five different operators already expressing their interest to the ACT Government.

“There is a big growth area in commercial share-scooter schemes,” Mr Rattenbury said. “We need to get a regulatory framework in place because operators would like to come and operate in Canberra.”

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Capital Retro8:46 pm 05 Sep 19

We are “obsessed” with cars because Canberra was planned for cars, not for scooters which were toys when I was young. Now they are powered toys for hipsters.

HiddenDragon7:26 pm 05 Sep 19

Maybe it’s time for a re-make of Malcolm, with e-scooters, drones (of various types) and shiny red trams – Canberra could lead the world (so to speak) with the first carbon-neutral heist movie…..

Capital Retro10:04 pm 05 Sep 19

…to be filmed in a pop-up, carbon-neutral bubble.

Will they be required to have a bell or warning device? Probably wouldn’t make much difference, bikes have bells but bike riders don’t know how to use them. Think there won’t be much difference between the attitude to pedestrians among scooters than there is with too many cyclists. Must brush up on martial arts.

Or more that some pedestrians don’t hear the bell. I have rung it, but they don’t hear the bell because of earphones. Ring the bell, no reaction, ring the bell again, still no reaction. With those earphones of theirs they are in a world of their own; not this world. So unaware of their surrounds.

Capital Retro3:39 pm 05 Sep 19

Will the government build heaps of free, fast recharging stations all over Canberra?

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