Further information required to ensure safe e-scooter roll-out

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Safety and public amenity will be the major focus of future deliberations regarding e-scooters and other ‘rideables’ on Noosa’s streets.

Following an application by Neon Ride to trial an electric scooter business on community land, Council resolved on Thursday not to issue a permit until more work is done around the risks and regulations associated with this new transport mode.

“The reason we can say no to Neon Ride is because their business model would result in them operating their business from public land,” Mayor Tony Wellington said.

“While considering the future of these new mobility devices, we’ll be liaising with the Department of Transport and Main Roads on various issues.

“Like other Queensland councils, we’re watching Brisbane City Council’s e-scooter trial with great interest. We’re also awaiting release of the National Transport Commission’s discussion paper on safe electric scooter use in Australia.

“With so many unanswered questions, issuing a permit now would be premature. It makes sense to properly consider the risks associated with having pedestrians share footpaths with fast-moving e-scooters. Other concerns include the enforcement of new laws for e-scooter riders, and of course the safety and amenity issues associated with dockless scooters being left on roadsides and in public areas.

“There is also the cloudy issue of insurance risk for Council if we were to provide a permit for such businesses to operate on Council-controlled land.

“While e-scooters may have a useful part to play in the bigger transport picture, other regions’ experience shows they clearly present challenges. Once we have strategies for tackling these challenges we’ll be in a much better positon to consider applications from e-scooter operators looking to launch their product here.”

The Mayor said a recent police blitz on e-scooters in Brisbane, which saw people fined for not wearing helmets, highlighted just some of the issues.

“In addition, the State recently released concerning e-scooter-related hospital admission data.”

The Mayor said Council didn’t see an urgent need for e-scooters in Noosa and would take its time to ensure any future plan to introduce them not only went smoothly, but was also designed to suit Noosa’s lifestyle and environment.

“E-scooters are a new and somewhat disruptive technology. Like many disruptive services, there simply aren’t the proper legislative controls in place to manage their impact,” he said.

“Residents certainly aren’t telling us that they desperately want e-scooters on our streets. In fact the only enquiries that I’m fielding currently are from e-scooter companies who obviously see the promotional value of operating in Noosa,” the Mayor said.

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