Electric Scooters are used successfully around the world, yet Queensland has just updated its regulations that dramatically reduce their usefulness, thanks to a few bad apples.
Every transport technology, from bikes, to cars, to boats and even planes can be dangerous in the wrong hands, but in no other form of transport, are the bad behaviours of a few, allowed to limit the use for the vast majority.
E-scooters in Queensland are now being limited to just 12km/hr, half of the previous limit. This means that those who were using e-scooters for commuting between home and work, will now see their travel times double under these new regulations.
Any sensible person riding an e-scooter would and should slow down in areas where there are other people, the same way casual bike riders do.
Those that ride dangerously, or actually run into someone and cause injury, should have the book thrown at them. What QLD, and any other state should realise is that making policy and regulatory decisions based on a few bad actors, on the back of some recent emotive media coverage, is the absolute wrong way to create laws.
Millions of people benefit from the convenient, quiet and environmentally friendly e-scooters and they should be allowed to do so safely, at a speed that is much faster than walking speed. Scooters in Australia are often limited to 25km/hr and that feels about the right speed. Mandate helmets or whatever other conditions you want, but the speed is important to the viability of an e-scooter.
Fast Fact – E-Scooter Reforms
- Slashing footpath speed limits in half, to 12km/h
- Proactive safety campaign to inform users of road rules, parking and their responsibilities
- Partner with industry for a new e-scooter users guide at point of sale (privately owned e-scooters)
- Mandate warning devices (such as a bell)
- Establish an e-scooter parking working group to create clear rules for e-scooter parking to keep footpaths clear for pedestrians and people with disabilities
- Allowing e-scooters on segregated bikeways, including the Veloway
- Examine further e-scooter use on shared bikeways and on road bike lanes, pending further stakeholder and local government consultation
- Improved data recording and injury reporting
- Improved signage and markings
- Road rule amendments
- Creation of high-risk e-scooter offences, including drink and drug driving penalties, through legislative reforms
- Cracking down on dangerous and irresponsible e-scooter behaviour such as speeding through tougher enforcement and appropriate penalties
QLD Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey posted this recently.
Roads and footpaths will be safer for Queensland commuters as the Palaszczuk Government rolls out new measures to better regulate e-scooters.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said stronger laws like lower speeds on footpaths, mandated safety measures, a safety education campaign and clearer signage and markings would be part of a suite of new actions to help ensure e-scooter riders, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians can safely share spaces.
“The rising popularity of e-scooters is a clear sign they aren’t going to disappear,” the Minister said.
“We know that people are going to keep using them so the key is making sure that shared spaces like footpaths and bike-lanes are as safe as they can be.
“That’s why I joined industry and user groups, disability advocates, health, police and government experts late last year to understand what needs to be done to make e-scooters and their use safer for people riding them and those they ride near.”
Immediate action will include the rollout of a proactive safety campaign focussing on the correct way to wear a helmet, how to ride safely, how to overtake pedestrians safely and how to park to keep the footpath clear for people with disabilities.
Mr Bailey said the reforms would see speed limits slashed on footpaths to 12 kilometres an hour.
“We are seeing far too many injuries in e-scooter users that are the result of speeding and many pedestrians feeling unsafe on footpaths,” he said.
“Our footpaths are there for everyone so e-scooter riders will need to slow down on footpaths to 12 km/h in future.
“We’ll also be allowing e-scooters on segregated bikeways, like the Veloway and bikeways such as the Ipswich Motorway & Gateway Arterial North as we examine further their use in relation to on road bike lanes.
“For e-scooters to use footpaths less, they need more safe routes to use as an alternative.
“We’ll examine further whether on road bike lanes are appropriate with all stakeholders, with extensive consultation with local government associations and councils to come.”
The State Government will also work with Brisbane City Council and other LGAs on making sure signs and markings make it clear where e-scooters can and can’t be ridden and where they can and can’t be parked.
Tougher laws to give police better tools to enforce speed limits and drink riding will also be further explored to crack down on rogue e-scooter riders endangering others.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Queensland Police Service would be part of a new Personal Mobility Device Safety Reference Group.
“We know many people do the right thing and our officers do a great job at policing dangerous behaviour already,” the Minister said.
“But with new rules and regulations we will be better equipped to keep the public safe.”
Mr Bailey said more information on the safety reforms would be made available in the coming months, as engagement with industry and stakeholders progressed.
“I look forward to seeing the work we can do in this space, and the benefits the reforms can have in community moving forward,” he said.
“I expect our Personal Mobility Action Plan outlining these, and a number of other initiatives around e-scooters, will be available shortly.”
More information on the current road rules for personal mobility devices can be found on the Queensland Government website.