Speed limits will be halved for e-scooters travelling on footpaths in Queensland, under a range of measures announced by the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, last week to encourage safer use of scooters.
The speed reduction, to 12kmh, will be accompanied by mandated safety measures, a safety education campaign and clearer signage and markings, to “help ensure e-scooter riders, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians can safely share spaces”.
“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 12kmh in future.
“We’ll also be allowing e-scooters on segregated bikeways, like the Veloway and bikeways such as the Ipswich Motorway and 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 Minister said immediate action will include rolling out a proactive safety campaign focusing 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.
The State Government will also work with Brisbane City Council and other LGAs to ensure signs and markings make it clear where e-scooters can and can’t be ridden and where they can 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”.
“The rising popularity of e-scooters is a clear sign they aren’t going to disappear,” Mr Bailey 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.”
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,” Mr Ryan 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 expect our Personal Mobility Action Plan outlining these, and a number of other initiatives around e-scooters, will be available shortly,” he said.
More information on the current road rules for personal mobility devices can be found on the Queensland Government website.
Other initiatives in the campaign:
- partner with industry for a new e-scooter users guide at point of sale, for 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
- 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
Operator Support for Changes
Beam, which operates several scooter share services in Queensland, said it supported any legislative changes that ensured the safety of all road users.
“The safety of Beam’s riders and the wider community is of utmost importance to us,” Beam Australia & New Zealand General Manager Tom Cooper said.
“We see these reforms as part and parcel of micromobility continuing to be integrated into a city’s transport network, and we hope these changes spur more investment in protected infrastructure for active transport.
“We’ll continue to work with the State and local governments to bring the best in micromobility technology and infrastructure to Queensland,” he said.
“We are confident in our industry-leading e-scooters, which are equipped with safety features including automatic collision and accident detection, dual front suspension for increased rider stability, bluetooth-locked helmets, indicators, a mechanical bell integrated into all scooters and triple brakes. Beam also employs precision geofencing and vehicle tracking to ensure the safety of the wider community.”
The company also operates an in-app safety education program for all users to teach them riding rules.
“Beam also hosts Australia’s only real-world training course, which we run regularly in cities for all riders, for free,” Tom said.
“We have a three-strikes policy, where riders who break the rules can see their accounts banned.”
Beam recently announced its plans to introduce the fifth generation Beam Saturn to Australia this year, along with the company’s MARS technology developed partly in response to safety and legislative requirements for cities.
“At this stage in Australia, no operator has adapted their technology to suit the more nuanced requirements from councils and State Governments,” he said.
“Beam is committed to being the first operator here to do so.”
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