Sydney e-scooter trial put on hold, despite council backing

The NSW Government has opposed plans for an electric scooter trial in Sydney despite local council support for the devices to be trialled there.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance recently told Budget Estimates in the NSW Parliament that he was “not in the mood” to have e-scooters on Sydney streets, even though his department, Transport for NSW, has recommended staging a trial.

“Looking at what’s happening in other parts of the world and around e-scooters, it’s a disaster,” he said.

“People are killed, electric scooters are left on the streets, and electric scooters are scattered in parks and sidewalks. People fall on them.”

“Our focus has been, particularly during Covid, to get people to ride a bike or walk,” Mr Constance said. “I am not in the mood for running e-scooter trials at a time like this.”

Sydney local governments, including the City of Sydney, Inner West, Randwick and others support trials of electric scooters, and schemes (run by Lime, Beam and Neuron) already operate in Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.

The National Transport Commission spent 18 months considering the barriers to the safe use of personal mobility devices, and in August 2020 recommended that e-scooters be legalised, with their speed on footpaths capped at 10km/h and at 25km/h on bicycle paths and residential streets.

Most state and territory road rules have yet to be amended to legalise e-scooters and other personal mobility devices.

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.