A Guide to Electric Scooter Trials in Australia
Since October 2018, Australia has been implementing various trials surrounding electric scooters. Being a relatively recent development in terms of transportation, state Governments have attempted different initiatives to make electric scooters more widespread. However, there have been many difficulties in integrating electric scooters with current transportation systems, resulting in different laws being made that affect electric scooter owners. The Raine One includes a speed-limiter which helps you comply with your local regulations. Although, you can unlock it for private use through the app!
As attitudes are shifting on electric scooters and they are becoming more widely accepted in Australian communities, various organisations from other countries have come to aid in trialling scooter-sharing schemes to make them more accessible. Below, we have compiled a guide to electric scooter trials in Australia, examining the efforts of each state.
Trials by State
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT Government legalised the use of electric scooters in November of 2019. In September 2020, electric scooter company Neuron Mobility, as well as Beam Mobility, secured permits from Transport Canberra to provide 1500 e-scooters for a scooter-sharing service.
The scooters, which are accessible via a smartphone app, come with various safety features, such as:
- Geofencing technology, which renders the scooter immobile if the user rides out of a permitted zone or over the speed limit, as well as stops the user from being able to end their trip in a no-parking zone.
- Voice guidance that would aid the rider in using the scooter safely.
- An in-built push notification function that alerts authorities if the user has a fall.
- GPS tracking, that would allow the user to share their journey with loved ones.
New South Wales
It is currently illegal to ride an electric scooter in New South Wales outside of private property. This legal barrier has not deterred electric scooter enthusiasts, as retailers continue to stock and sell electric scooters in large numbers.
The National Transport Commission spent 18 months compiling a 73-page report that was released in August 2020, detailing the benefits of electric scooter usage and recommending that they be allowed on footpaths and streets with speed limits of 15km/h and 25km/h respectively.
However, Transport Minister Andrew Constance is adamant that New South Wales will not conduct electric scooter trials any time soon, having not been influenced by the e-scooter trials conducted in other Australian cities.
In the Northern Territory, the Darwin city council began a 12-month trial of 250 electric scooters across 37 locations in January 2020. The scooters were provided by Neuron, with designs built to withstand tropical conditions, and are to be ridden in Darwin City, the Waterfront and Cullen Bay.
Like other scooter-sharing schemes, the Neuron scooters are controlled via app and subject to geofencing capabilities that ensure they are not ridden in prohibited areas. Scooters are to be ridden on footpaths and bike lanes, and they are not allowed to be parked near water or taken on public transport.
The Darwin Council will monitor the trial and, at the end of the 12 month period, evaluate its success, which could lead to expressions of interest for other e-scooter companies to apply for licences to operate in Darwin.
In 2018, Brisbane was the first major city in Australia to embrace electric scooters, striking a deal with e-scooter company Lime to provide a sharing service to make up for gaps in the public transport system. In July 2019, Neuron provided additional scooters which were rolled out to more areas of the city.
In April 2021, an expression of interest for more e-scooters was made by the Rockhampton Regional Council, attracting six operators from other countries. It has been announced that the scooters will be set up for a trial period in which they are subject to regulations enforced by geofencing technologies. This trial is projected to begin at the end of 2021.
The first e-scooter trial in Adelaide was conducted in early 2019 with the aid of Lime. However, Lime would later lose their permit to Beam and RIDE in March of that year, due to its failure to enforce council-imposed geographic boundaries for its e-scooters.
Beam would continue to provide e-scooters for Adelaide’s e-scooter trials until January of 2020, in which Beam lost their permit and was required to remove their scooters by the 31st of that month. On the other hand, RIDE had their permit renewed until February 2022, joined by Neuron, who has already provided e-scooter sharing solutions in other cities.
Councils in Hobart and Launceston have made expressions of interest for e-scooter companies to provide scooters for a 12 month trial in their respective cities. Neuron Mobility has responded to this EOI showing a positive outlook towards the notion of working with both councils to establish safe and sustainable e-scooter programs.
State Liberal Party leader and Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein has expressed interest in allowing e-scooters to be ridden on footpaths and shared paths across the state. Gutwein is himself a fan of electric scooters, calling them “easy to carry, great to get to and from public transport and above all, good for our environment”.
In October of 2019, Melbourne backed a trial to have 500 Lime e-scooters over the city of Port Phillip, after a previous trial conducted by the e-scooter company at Monash University’s Clayton campus showed great success among students in November of the previous year.
In April of 2021, the Victorian Government announced that three council areas will play host to a new e-scooter trial that will hopefully start later this year, aiding understanding as to how e-scooters could be safely incorporated into the transport network.
Lime proposed conducting a trial in Perth in December of 2018. For this trial, they applied for an exemption to raise the speed limit of electric scooters from 10 km/h to 15km/h.
Why is it difficult to establish scooter-sharing schemes in these states?
As these trials have been conducted in each state, various complications have arisen that affected the results, including;
- Injuries due to reckless behaviour, including people refusing to wear helmets and operating scooters while inebriated.
- Vandalism, as well as scooters being left in places where they have since become pollutants as well as obstacles for disabled people.
- A lack of law enforcement penalising people for abusing e-scooters, due to the vagueness of the laws surrounding them.
- Difficulties with integrating electric scooters into each state’s existing, congested transportation infrastructure.
Since then, e-scooter companies, as well as the state Governments working with them, have taken measures to address these problems using corrective measures such as:
- Technology that creates a financial incentive for riders to park their scooters properly, by deducting money from them until they do.
- Increased awareness amongst commuters regarding how to safely use e-scooters to avoid danger both to themselves and others.
- Police crackdown operations in which law enforcement are more aware of the laws surrounding electric scooters and are therefore better able to enforce them.
- More hands-on services on behalf of the e-scooter suppliers, in which workers use GPS tracking to recover improperly discarded scooters and ensure they are no longer an obstruction to the community.
- Further reports and studies being conducted to determine the best method of implementing e-scooter sharing with existing transport systems.
Should I get an electric scooter?
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With a front fork made from reinforced carbon fibre, rims made from lightweight high strength alloy and a chassis made from aircraft-grade water-resistant aluminium, the Raine One scooter is built to last. It can reach top speeds of up to 45km per hour and it has a charge time of only 5 hours. There are also safety features such as powerful lights, a three-pronged braking system and high grip pneumatic tyres.
The Raine One includes a speed-limiter which helps you comply with your local regulations. Although, you can unlock it for private use through the app.
Contact us and we’ll help you take the first step towards riding faster, further and smarter.