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Saturday, October 24, 2020

New e-scooter share schemes come to town

Electric scooters (aka e-scooters) are expected to be available for public use around Canberra’s inner city, inner north, inner south and at least one other yet-to-be-determined location from August this year.

ACT Roads Minister Chris Steel announced the new program this morning, Monday 6 July, and said the e-scooters were a new way for people to get to the “first mile and last mile” of their commute.

The ACT Government announced it is seeking expressions of interest for two private scooter operators to each supply up to 750 e-scooters.

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“This isn’t just a new form of mobility, it will see the start of a brand-new industry in the ACT, creating jobs in the management and maintenance of shared e-scooters,” Mr Steel said.

He said that a “dockless shared mobility policy and guidelines” had been developed and the ACT Government expected the operation to deliver better transport choices for Canberrans.

“We anticipate that the e-scooters will be popular with tourists, using them to explore Canberra and move between our national and cultural institutions. We have engaged with the NCA and the ANU so that they can regulate e-scooter share schemes on their land in a similar way to the rest of the city,” Mr Steel said.

He said e-scooter operators would have to take safety precautions against the pandemic and ensure the scooters were cleaned regularly.

“The Government will be closely monitoring the safety of the e-scooter share schemes. Operators must demonstrate that they are safe, and the ACT Government reserves the right to act in the public interest to put safety first,” Mr Steel said.

E-scooters are already legal to use on shared paths and footpaths in the ACT, but not permitted on roads or on-road bicycle lanes (except on residential streets where there is no footpath); users must give way to pedestrians and keep to the left.

They are subject to a maximum speed of 15km/h on footpaths and up to 25km/h in all other permitted locations.

GPS will be used to limit the access of the e-scooters across Canberra and operators will work with Transport Canberra City Services to protect the public realm and safety of others by using geofencing technology.

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