According to recent news, electric scooter trials in Victoria will soon start in four council areas, specifically in the cities of Melbourne, Yarra, Port Phillip and Ballarat. The Victorian State government announces that the 12-month trial could start this spring and that the program will only be available to shared e-scooter schemes. However, unlike other e-scooter trials in the country, shared electric scooters in Victoria will feature high-powered electric scooters, which means higher speeds for riders.
Earlier this year, the Victorian government expressed their interest in conducting an electric scooter trial in metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria. The council areas for the e-scooter trial were selected via a targeted expression of interest procedure, which was overseen by the Department of Transport.
A 2019 survey by the RACV found that 80 per cent of Victorians said they would consider using an electric scooter while 60 per cent said that they would replace car trips with e-scooters. Since then, several Victorian councils have backed the State regarding electric scooter trials.
The shared electric scooters in Melbourne, Yarra, Port Phillip and Ballarat will be allowed on shared paths, bicycle lanes, and low-speed roads with a maximum speed limit of 50 kph. Electric scooter riders will not be allowed to ride on footpaths.
For the speed limit, shared e-scooter riders can travel up to 20 kph. The current electric scooter law in Victoria only permits a maximum speed of 10 kph and a motor power of less than 200 watts for e-scooters. The proposed speed limit for the e-scooter trial is not only twice the current speed limit for Victoria but also higher than most e-scooter trials in the country.
Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said, “We are partnering with local councils that have a good mix of low-speed roads, shared user paths and bicycle lanes to trial how e-scooters may fit into our transport network.”
Yarra Mayor Cr Gabrielle de Vietri looks forward to having electric scooters in Yarra. According to Cr de Vietri, the e-scooter trial is a great opportunity to see how electric scooters will fit into their transport system and improve their plans for active and sustainable transport.
“Sustainable micro-mobility like e-scooters will help drive down car dependency while improving the health and wellbeing of people in Yarra. As our population grows it will help us reduce carbon emissions and achieve our ambitious zero carbon targets. And it will help improve the liveability of our streets for everyone,” Cr de Vietri said.
Meanwhile, Ballarat Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney is eager to see electric scooters in Ballarat. Cr Moloney said, “This is not even remotely intended to replace cars coming from suburban parts of the city into the centre, this will be ideally for those people that want to do something a bit different to walking around the CBD in particular.”
Cr Moloney also said that he sees this as the first step to using different transport technologies in the city. He also expects people who need to travel short distances, such as university students and tourists, to ride the shared electric scooters when it takes effect in summer.
Meanwhile, electric scooters in Port Phillip are very much welcome as the city has backed e-scooter trials in Victoria since 2019.
Aside from the electric scooter trial in Victoria, more States have also announced their plans for implementing electric scooter trials recently.
Last July, Tasmania revealed its plans to legalise private and shared e-scooters in the summer. Once electric scooters in Tasmania are legalised, most e-scooters in the market will be rideable, and riders of at least 16 years of age can use an e-scooter in public as long as they wear a helmet and follow e-scooter road rules.
Along with this announcement, the cities of Hobart and Launceston have also expressed their interest in conducting a 12-month shared electric scooter trial. Aside from the e-scooter trials, Tasmania will also run a campaign to educate the public on e-scooter safety and legality.
Meanwhile, the South Australian police have also announced their intention to start an e-scooter trial within the Adelaide CBD. The trial aims to help the police widen its range and patrol more efficiently, making it a first for the Australian police.
Reports say that the e-scooters used will be decked out with police livery to make it an official police vehicle. Officers will also be trained to ride the e-scooters before the trial starts. The police officers will be patrolling in their e-scooters in North Adelaide, through the South Parklands down to Greenhill Rd and down to Port Rd.
As commuters demand a more efficient and affordable transportation system, expect more cities in the country to push for e-scooter trials.
For more electric scooter news, tips, and guides, check out Mearth’s blogs.