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Limes not lemons: lessons from Australia’s first e-scooter sharing trial

Benjamin Kaufman and Matthew Burke write in The Conversation (23.1.19) about the trial introduction of an e-scooter sharing service in Brisbane, suggesting recommendations to deal with legal and safety issues that have emerged.

‘If you’ve been in central Brisbane recently, you will know there is a new visitor in town. Lime e-scooters have popped up all over the CBD and neighbouring suburbs. It’s early days for this new mobility provider, so we can’t say if this is a permanent fixture with certainty, but here’s a transport research team’s view on the Brisbane trial and its implications.

‘Transport disruption makes life difficult for policymakers and transport agencies. Queensland at first attempted to deter illegal ride-sharing but then legalised Uber and Ola in response to public demand. E-scooter sharing systems might be just as transformative for people’s travel.

‘… There are some issues though. The guidance provided to riders about where you can legally ride, whether on the departmental website, news media, the system app or its website, is at times missing, contradictory or just confusing. Fixing that should be easy enough.

‘Brisbane has not built much bicycle infrastructure in the last five decades, a few notable bridges and riverside paths aside. Nor have we reduced local street speeds to 30km/h, as is now standard European practice. There aren’t obvious safe routes to use when scootering through parts of the central city. Fixing these issues will be more challenging, but quiet non-polluting e-scooters are clearly preferable to a city centre clogged with cars.’

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