While they're certainly divisive, it appears electric scooters are here to stay and their use on our roads and footpaths is surging. But one Australian council has walked back on its e-scooter trial in a move that has left residents using the mode of transport bemused.
The City of Unley, an inner-city Adelaide council, has refused to extend its e-scooter trial which will now see shared e-scooters available to rent wiped from its streets.
A notification from shared service Beam on its app informed customers the City of Unley LGA was no longer accessible to its customers from Saturday, sharing an updated, smaller map of where scooters would now be available to be used.
The council told Yahoo News Australia that a vote last month resulted in an extension of its two-year trial was defeated six votes to five, adding such a vote replicated just how divided sentiment about scooters is in the community.
Government takes its time on legislation, safety clarity
Unley Mayor Michael Hewitson previously stated a lack of clarity from the state government on the laws surrounding e-scooters had led to reservations from residents and councillors. He warned the government late last year a decision to scrap the trial was likely without action.
While the South Australian government has long spoken of its desire to introduce legislation for the use of privately-owned scooters, as well as updated safety measures for riders, Premier Peter Malinauskas has yet to deliver. He recently said the government did not want to rush the process to ensure they "get it right".
"The key issues are about the uncertainty around legislation in terms of road and safety rules, along with aspects such as vehicle registration and insurance. People can pay to hire e-scooters, but it is still illegal to operate a privately owned e-scooter on public roads," a City of Unley spokesperson told Yahoo.
"The chief concerns we heard from our community were about e-scooter safety around bicycle riders and pedestrians on shared bike and walking pathways, and about the machines impeding footpaths and becoming tripping hazards for residents."
Privately-owned scooters are street legal in Queensland, WA, Tasmania and the ACT, however policing of the use of private e-scooters publicly in other states is often lax, but offending riders can face a raft of financial punishments.
Mayor Hewitson told Yahoo that while he sees e-scooters as a cheap and environmentally-friendly alternative moving forward, he "respects and understands the reasons" for councillors' decision to end the trial.
Residents who use rental e-scooters were left confused by the move, calling it "short sighted". Others criticised the state government for "wasted" time on what they say is much-needed legislation.
However some disagreed on the trial, calling hire e-scooters "a menace". "People just dumped them anywhere and everywhere," they said.
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