NSW abandons electric scooter trial because minister Andrew Constance ‘not in the mood’ Leave a comment


“People getting killed, e-scooters being left up trees, e-scooters littering parks and footpaths, people falling over them,” he told budget estimates last week.

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“The point is that I am not entertaining this. Our focus has been, particularly during COVID, to get people to ride a bike or walk. I am not in the mood for running e-scooter trials at a time like this.”

Those in favour of e-scooters say they free up space by taking commuters off roads and public transport, but opponents say they present a danger to pedestrians.

Despite only being legal to use on private property in NSW, e-scooters are prevalent around Sydney and sold at national retailers including Myer and JB Hi-Fi as well as boutique scooter shops.

One major retailer, which shared its sales data on the condition it was not identified, said e-scooter sales have increased five-fold in the past year due to “significant customer demand”.

Scooter Hut Newtown store manager Alan Kurkuri estimated his sales had doubled in the past six months.

He informs customers the devices are not legal on NSW roads or footpaths, although he says the odds of being caught are low.

“It’s a kind of grey area, [police] won’t pull you over unless you’re being rash,” he said.

Christopher Hilton, spokesman for Beam which operates e-scooters in Adelaide, said he hopes NSW changes its position on the devices.

“We were surprised, and disappointed, that Minister Constance has disregarded the recommendations of his department’s [electric scooter advisory] mobility working group as well as those of the National Transport Commission that both recommend opening up Sydney and all Australian cities to e-scooters,” Mr Hilton said.

The NTC will table draft legislation for state and territory transport ministers to consider in May, although the recommendations are not binding because each state legislates its own road rules.

The Herald sought an interview with Mr Constance to clarify his comments last week, but his spokeswoman said the minister did not have anything further to add.

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