Melbourne and Ballarat, both cities in Victoria, Australia once rivaled each other in terms of wealth and cultural influence, especially when gold was discovered near Ballarat, sparking the Victorian gold rush. Today is quite the contrary, what was once a rivalry has now become two cities united together to welcome electric scooters, however, not yet officially.
In the year of 2022, an e-scooter trial started with the Victorian government, including the inner-city councils for City of Melbourne, City of Yarra and City of Port Phillip and the regional city of Ballarat all in cahoots.The trial is scheduled to end in February 2023 but has been extended to March as all parties consider greatly what the solution should be to lessen traffic, air pollution and many more. In March, a verdict will be made after agencies weigh it all in, including the Department of Transport.
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As for Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp, she believes e-scooters are here to stay especially when they are helping drive economic activity in the CBD. ”I absolutely love it. I think these previous 12 months have shown how fixed the usage of e-scooters are in Melbourne. People coming in for shows, hospitality and retail. It’s added to our offering for tourists.” She added. “We’re delighted to partner with companies who want to help make our city more accessible, attract more visitors and help people get around swiftly and safely.”
And as far as the figures show, electric scooters are popular, with the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) counting 2.8 million e-scooter rides over the trial.
On average 8,600 e-scooter trips have been made each day, with 5,200 taken in the City of Melbourne alone, with a spike in use over festivals and events. E-scooter usage to the office or education institution was the next-highest reason for use. This only means people have found a better way to transport, yet not adding to the congestion and traffic.
E-scooter riders were also questioned with their thoughts on e-scooters and they have attested that it is way more cost-effective, making an e-scooter much more attractive than commuting. The boom of the electric scooter has also arrived on time, to help civilians avoid rocket-high petrol prices.
Of course, it’s inevitable, there will always be two sides of the story, depending who you are talking to. A chunk will approve, seeing fast scooters as the answer to many road problems and another chunk will disapprove, seeing it as too fast and dangerous to handle for society.
The police are also in on the trial, determining what should and should not be. Unfortunately, Victoria Police has handed out 865 e-scooter fines already, mostly for failing to wear a helmet (219 fines), riding on the footpath (294 fines) and carrying a passenger (143 fines). Police have also responded to 33 e-scooter crashes, and impounded 15 privately owned e-scooters.
Electric scooter trials are the answer for sure to help resolve the situation. In fact, RACV’s mobility general manager Julia Hunter said the trial data would shape policy going forward but based on what it had seen, it supported the continued roll-out of e-scooters in Victoria. She continues, “more bike infrastructure is needed to make safer roads for everyone including pedestrians, drivers and riders.”
Capp agreed safety concerns were valid, but solutions were also in place, like built-in speed restrictions of 20 kilometers per hour and geo-fencing which stop e-scooters from entering certain zones and keeping limitations as needed.
WAIT AND PRAY
For a moment, all we can do is wait and pray, aside from being a law-abiding citizen. Let’s do our part (the best that we can), because after all, it is our riding that results in the decision that is set upon us all.
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