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The Score on the NSW Electric Scooter Trials

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gp The Score on the NSW E Scooter Trials

It’s not yet over and done with. The trial in NSW on shared electric scooters is still ongoing.

For the many who are really keen on knowing about the goings on in the trial, here it is:

  1. NSW being the last state or territory to trial a shared e-scooter scheme is taking one of the strictest approaches, firmly banning the said devices from footpaths.
  2. 2. The following councils that have agreed to participate in the trial are –

The Parramatta Council. The council has expressed interest in hosting a trial of e-scooters in its CBD and surrounding areas, saying it would provide a convenient and sustainable transport option for residents and visitors.

The Wollongong City Council. They have also indicated its willingness to take part in the trial, stating that electric scooters could enhance the city’s liveability and vibrancy, as well as support its tourism and hospitality sectors.

The Lake Macquarie City Council. As a participating council that has launched an e-scooter trial on 5 December 2022, the said council is allowing people to ride e-scooters supplied by selected providers on designated shared paths only. Further, the trial covers four tracks in the council area, namely, the Fernleigh Track, the Croudace Bay foreshore, the Warners Bay foreshore and up to Glendale, and the Toronto foreshore to Fassifern train station.

  1. The Australian government has given the councils until the end of September 2022 to decide whether they wanted to participate in the trial, but is due to be extended after some councils complained about the lack of consultation and support.
  2. There are four popular Western Sydney locations that have been selected to welcome the first of several shared e-scooter trials to roll out across NSW. The first shared trials that began on Saturday, July 31, 2022 were held at three locations: in Western Sydney Parklands’ Bungarribee Park, Lizard Log and Shale Hills, as well as The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.
  3. The NSW trial is expected to last for 12 months and will be evaluated and monitored by the Transport for NSW. However, the trial will only allow riders to hire and ride e-scooters supplied by selected providers on designated roads, bicycle paths and shared paths.
  4. Under the trial rules, e-scooter riders must be 16 years or older. They must wear an approved bicycle helmet. The 20 km/h speed limit must be exceeded, on roads and bicycle paths or 10 km/h on shared paths. The e-scooter riders are not allowed to ride on footpaths.

To backtrack a bit, with all the e-scooters trials done in different states, what are the benefits of such trials? What were the challenges discussed in those trials?

First, The Benefits

  1. E-scooter trials can provide a sustainable and convenient transport option for short journeys, reducing traffic congestion, carbon emissions and transport costs.
  2. E-scooter trials can show the fun and exciting way to explore the city and its surroundings, boosting tourism and local businesses.
  3. E-scooter trials can create new opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and employment in the e-mobility sector.
  4. E-scooter trials can also show how e-scooters can help people with mobility issues, disabilities or health conditions to get around more easily and independently.

On the opposing side, these challenges were tackled in the NSW trial

  1. (That) E-scooter trials are concerned for the safety risks for riders, pedestrians and other road users, especially if there is a lack of regulations, infrastructure and enforcement.
  2. (That) E-scooter trials found e-scooters can cause clutter and obstruction on footpaths, if the devices are not parked properly or collected regularly by the operators.
  3. (That) E-scooter trials can face resistance from other councils and communities, who may have concerns about the costs, impacts and benefits of the schemes.
  4. (That) E-scooter trials require ongoing monitoring and evaluation by the authorities and operators, to ensure crashes or other incidents are reported and managed.

Note the general trial rules and tips for e-scooter riders

– Riders can only use shared e-scooters hired through an approved e-scooter provider in trial areas. Privately owned e-scooters are not allowed on NSW roads or related areas (including those in the trial areas).

– Riders must wear an approved bicycle helmet at all times when riding an e-scooter.

– Riders must use the e-scooter lights when riding in darkness or hazardous weather conditions.

– A BAC limit of 0.05 applies when riding an e-scooter. Riders who are drunk cannot ride an e-scooter.

– Riders are also subject to the same drug driving offenses as motor vehicle drivers. They cannot have illicit drug- s present in their body’s system. Nor can they ride while under the infincurce of alcohol or other drugs.

A rider caught drunk or under the influence of drugs while riding – will have serious penalties and may face consequences, including the confiscation of a driver’s lice- R must always wear brightly colored clothing so other road users can see and spot them easiintentions early.

– Riders must indicate clearly if they will turn or stop, so other people are aware of their intentions.

– Further, shared e-scooter scheme operators are required to have appropriate insurance cover for their devices. The e-scooter rider may also consider insurance for personal injury or property damage – although this is not a trial requirement.

On sharing the road with other e-scooter riders and a bicycle rider:

When overtaking e-scooters, ensure it is safe to do so and leave enough space for the other riders.

Look out for e-scooter riders when riding in bicycle lanes, on shared paths and on roads with speed limits less than 50km/h.

Remember, e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on the footpath.

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