People who want to zip down Sydney streets on electrical scooters should dream on.
They’re dangerous, a nuisance, and would soon litter the streets if allowed to proliferate, according to NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
They’re also illegal on public roads, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon, particularly after Mr Constance’s comments on Thursday.
He told an NSW budget estimates hearing he’s “not in the mood” to run a trial to see if the vehicles should be allowed.
“I’m not in the mood for running e-scooter trials in a time like this. And I’m certainly not in the mood for seeing e-scooters littering the streets, people doing silly things (with them),” Mr Constance said.
“If you go an look at the rest of the world and what’s going on around e-scooters, it’s a disaster. People getting killed, e-scooters getting left on streets, e-scooters littering parks and footpaths, people falling over them.”
In European and US cities where e-scooters are popular, the vehicles can frequently be seen abandoned on sidewalks, left in parks, or glimmering at the bottom of urban waterways.
Studies back up Mr Constance’s warnings. Between 2017 and 2019, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission logged 133,000 emergency room visits and 41 deaths associated with “micromobility products”, including e-scooters, hoverboards, and e-bikes.
Fans of e-scooters say they‘re convenient and fast for use for urban travel. Several other Australian cities have run trials, including Brisbane and Adelaide.
A report last year by an “electric scooter advisory” working group assembled by Transport for NSW said e-scooters ”may have the potential to transform personal mobility, facilitating first and last mile journeys and freeing up capacity from our congested roads”.
But their use would also necessitate “significant legislative change” and would possibly need to involve a ”complex and costly enforcement regime”, the report found.
Mr Constance said he put the idea of a trial “on hold”.
“Because I think if you go and visit many of the jurisdictions around the world where they have e-scooters, it‘s turned into a nightmare,” he said.
“I’m not entertaining this, and I’m particularly not going to entertain it at (this) moment. We’re focusing on putting bike paths in, get the cycling community focused and upwardly more mobile, given the demand. That’s the focus at this time.”