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E-Scooters Are Set to Remain Illegal In NSW As Proposed Trial Is Scrapped By State Government

NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said he was "not in the mood" to run an e-scooter trial at the moment.
By Ben Hansen
March 08, 2021
By Ben Hansen
March 08, 2021

If you're a seasoned traveller (or at least you were pre-COVID-19) you've almost certainly run into an e-scooter. The speedy transportation option has overtaken streets in the US, Europe and, closer to home, in Melbourne and Brisbane. Here in Sydney, however, the electric scooter is few and far between. Under current NSW road rules, electric scooters are prohibited from being ridden on the road. While this hasn't stopped e-scooter retailers like WalkSmart opening stores in Sydney, riders could be issued fines and the legislation has prohibited street rental organisations like Lime, Beam and Neuron bringing their scooters to Sydney.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, in 2019, eight Sydney councils were in discussions with the NSW Government about hosting e-scooter trials that would see the ban temporarily lifted. These trials never came to be, despite multiple subsequent reports in support of e-scooters. One report conducted by the Electric Scooter Advisory Working Group (ESA) for Transport for NSW in March 2020 recommended a six-month trial of e-scooters in bike lanes and on shared paths. Similarly, an August 2020 report by the National Transport Commission recommended e-scooters be permitted on most pedestrian infrastructure with a ten kilometre per hour speed limit.

Following months of silence from the NSW Government on the proposed trials, or any planned legalisation of e-scooters, the NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance was pressed on the issue during the 2020/21 Budget Estimate inquiry on Thursday, February 25. When asked if the electric scooter trial had been abandoned, Constance replied that it had been put "on hold" and that he was "not in the mood" to run an e-scooter trial in NSW at this time.

NSW Minster for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance by John Cowper

One reason cited for the minister's hesitation towards running the trial was issues faced by other cities that had legalised electric scooters. When pressed further on what these issues are, Mr Constance said: "people getting killed, e-scooters being left up trees, e-scooters littering parks and footpaths, people falling over them. I can send you a bunch of pictures if you want."

While NSW continues to wait for regulated e-scooters to arrive in the state, leading e-scooter company Lime's e-bike sharing services have been operational in the Sydney since 2018, with bike sharing services a part of the city since back in 2017.

E-scooters are currently illegal in NSW.

Published on March 08, 2021 by Ben Hansen

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