We Need To Speed Up E-Scooter Legalisation in Australia, Researcher Argues

We Need To Speed Up E-Scooter Legalisation in Australia, Researcher Argues

E-scooters are currently in a dicey legal position across Australia. Legal in some states and illegal in others. While some operate speed and area-limited trials, there’s a fair amount of caution being applied to the (relatively) new technology. So, according to an expert from UNSW, should we legalise e-scooters Australia-wide?

“The potential of an e-bicycle or an e-scooter as a casual mode of transportation is what makes it the most compelling,” transport researcher at the UNSW City Futures Research Centre Doctor Lee Roberts said.

“At scale, it could help address some of the key problems people face getting around in our cities.”

What’s so great about e-scooters (and by extension, e-bikes), according to Roberts, is that they make a terrific alternative to cars for ‘last-mile or first-mile’ problems. That means that, on shorter commutes, these smaller, single-person modes of transport are better suited than bulkier, established road-dependant cars.

This isn’t the only argument for them though. While one might argue against the need for them to be electrified, the added battery and motor power lets commuters get up steep hills easier without getting tired.

Roberts suggests that a shared scooter system could also work, alleviating the need for consumers to buy into the tech.

“If there’s a fully charged device ready to go outside your doorstep, it can be very convenient, with obvious environmental benefits,” added Roberts.

Some Australian states are trialling e-scooters individually, including NSW and Victoria. The same rules don’t apply across each trial, with each state conducting their trials individually.

E-scooters are also legal in some Australian states and territories, including in the ACT, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. Scooter hut has a great breakdown on e-scooter legalisation across Australia on its website.

And it’s a shame, because if you consider a city like Sydney or Melbourne, with established bike paths on some major streets, e-scooters could be hugely beneficial to commuters. However, even this infrastructure would need further development.

Share scooters systems have even faced hurdles, with some cities banning their use altogether. Other issues include fleet size and scooter type limitations.

“In a place like greater Sydney, the infrastructure has lagged behind the innovations in technology. There are only so many places where you can ride a bike and feel completely comfortable and safe,” added Roberts.

Roberts further suggested that the success of e-scooters and e-bikes could be dependent on a shift away from cars and government-focused support on these smaller mobility solutions. This could mean an urban planning shift away from car-dominated streets, and reallocating road space to non-car transport.

The case for e-scooters continues to grow and, hopefully, you’ll be able to book one across any major Australian city in the future.

You can read more about e-scooters on the UNSW website.

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