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Making e-scooters safer

I am pushing to reform the laws about e-scooters to make them safer for everyone, including riders and pedestrians. 

Making pedestrians safer by allowing e-scooters to ride on the road

On 22 July 2020 I wrote to the Queensland Minister for Transport asking him to consider allowing e-scooters and other personal mobility devices to use on-road bike lanes under the same conditions as bikes. 

On 21 September 2020 the Minister responded. He indicated that there was no current plan to allow e-scooters on roads. My longer reflection on that response is here on my facebook page. 

This was disappointing, and I will continue to push for a change to this law in order to protect pedestrians and e-scooters more practical. 

In February 2022 the Queensland government announced changes to the rules including

  • reducing maximum speed limits for e-scooters on footpaths and shared paths to 12km/hr.
  • clarifying that e-scooters can use separated bike lanes and bike paths like the Bicentennial Bikeway on Coronation Dr, and the V1 Veloway.
  • allowing e-scooters to use on-road bike lanes on roads with a speed limit of 50km/hr or below
  • allowing e-scooters to use physically separated on-road bike lanes

The rules are listed here

These changes mean that many major roads are still off-limits to e-scooters, including Moggill Rd, Sir Fred Schonell Dr and others with 60km/hr speed limits. That means riders will continue to be forced to use the footpath, putting pedestrians at risk. In February 2022 the government announced they would "examine" whether to allow e-scooters to use on-road bike lanes on roads above 50km/hr "within 3-6 months. 

Collecting crash data

In August 2021 I wrote to both Council and the State government requesting data on crashes involving e-scooters. Neither were collecting data, which was alarming, as I pointed out on facebook here. Some media coverage of my push for better data is here. 

Insurance to protect pedestrians

In September 2021 Council admitted that they have not required e-scooter and e-bike hire companies Beam and Neuron to carry third party liability insurance to protect pedestrians who are hit by riders. This is despite such insurance being required in their operating agreements. Council claimed that their failure to require proper insurance was due to the fact that such insurance does not exist in Australia. 

Despite many reported crashes involving e-scooters and pedestrians, Council seems to have failed to enforce their own contract with Beam and Neuron which required this insurance. The Greens are actively pursuing this issue with Brisbane City Council. 

Earlier, in May 2021, Neuron announced that it was launching a new third party insurance designed to cover pedestrians. This could mean that only Beam is operating without third party insurance. 

E-scooters left in dangerous places

The Greens are seeking to make sure hired e-scooters are not left in dangerous places around the city. Right now Council’s contract with Beam and Neuron requires that the companies ensure riders don't leave scooters in dangerous places, but this is clearly not achieving compliance with the rules. 

E-scooters on public transport

In my letter to the Minister in July 2020, I also asked the government to allow e-scooters and other personal mobility devices on public transport under the same conditions as non-electric bikes.

Since then, the a six month trial began from July 2021 which allows e-scooters on trains at certain times. In January 2022 this trial was made permanent including in peak periods in the first and last carriages.