31 October 2023

Wollongong's electric scooters rack up 37,000 trips in first month of trial

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E-scooter riders at Flagstaff Hill.

Flagstaff Hill is a popular destination for e-scooter riders. Photos: Neuron Mobility.

Wollongong’s electric scooters have travelled the equivalent of 20 trips from Sydney to Perth since they were introduced a month ago.

Riders of the bright orange Neuron Mobility e-scooters have taken more than 37,000 trips and travelled 85,000 km in that time.

Three hundred scooters were rolled out in Wollongong at the end of September as part of a 12-month trial. They are speed-limited and confined to certain roads and shared paths around the city and north to Sandon Point.

Flagstaff Hill, Diggies and the entry to Crown Street Mall are the most popular places for riders to start and end their trip, with many riders using e-scooters to travel along the Blue Mile Pathway and into the city centre.

Flagstaff Hill to Stuart Park, and Levendi on Cliff Road to Keira Street, are also popular routes.

READ ALSO 12-month electric scooter trial rolling out in limited Wollongong areas

The majority of the trips are about 2.5 km, and riders mostly use them for short trips around the city.

Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said the council was aware of a lot of commentary on social media about the introduction of the e-scooter trial.

“One of the key concerns from community members is about safety and where the e-scooters are parked,’’ he said.

“We’ve worked really closely with Neuron and Transport for NSW on the plans for this trial and safety has been front of mind throughout this process.

“This trial isn’t a set-and-forget system either, we’ll be working closely with our fellow stakeholders to consider whether any further tweaks are needed.

“In the meantime, we all should be mindful that there are road rules that apply for the use of these e-scooters and that people should ensure they’re doing the right thing.”

The different features of an e-scooter.

Neuron e-scooters contain a number of features to help riders stay safe.

Throughout the first month of the program, Neuron has held safety events and encouraged riders to learn more about the riding rules through its online ScootSafe Academy.

Neuron’s head of market development for Australia and New Zealand Tim Morris said the feedback from riders had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

“Many people are making trips they wouldn’t otherwise have made, and it is great to see e-scooters benefit local businesses and the community as a whole,” he said.

“With e-scooters being new in the city there are likely to be many first-time riders, who may be less familiar with the riding rules.

“We are reminding all of our riders they must be aged 16 and over, only one rider is allowed per e-scooter, never drink and ride, park responsibly and please wear the helmet provided on our e-scooters.”

READ ALSO A word of warning from Canberra: e-scooters aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

The e-scooters are limited to a maximum speed of 10 km/h on shared pathways and 20 km/h on bike paths, or roads with speed limits up to 50 km/h. They cannot be ridden on footpaths and only the Neuron-branded e-scooters are permitted to be used.

E-scooters also have a topple detection feature that can detect if an e-scooter has been left on its side which then alerts the operations team. Other features include a 000 emergency button, which can tell if someone has had a fall and helps the rider call the emergency services and voice guidance to educate and warn riders of how to ride safely.

E-scooter rules:

  • E-scooter riders must be 16 years old and above
  • E-scooters cannot be ridden on the footpath
  • E-scooters can only be ridden on bicycle lanes, shared paths, and low-speed roads
  • When riding on a shared path e-scooters must be ridden at a maximum of 10km/h
  • Only one rider allowed per e-scooter, and no tandem riding with children
  • Wearing a helmet is mandatory, there is one on every e-scooter
  • Maintain a safe distance between riders and pedestrians
  • Give way to pedestrians and mobility devices (such as wheelchairs) at all times
  • Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or any other substance
  • Park responsibly, don’t obstruct access areas

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