Lack of regulation around e-scooters poses a threat to pedestrians across the country, warns an expert fro Charles Darwin University (CDU).
Lecturer Dr Ciprian Radavoi has been researching the rights and responsibilities concerning pedestrians and e-scooters as well as the level of enforcement of speed limits and safety rules, which vary significantly across Australian cities.
Dr Radavoi, from the Asia Pacific College of Business and Law, said the regulatory framework for e-scooters in Australia had been designed almost exclusively with the safety and comfort of rider’s in mind.
This left vulnerable people at risk because of poor and unenforced rules around e-scooter use on footpaths.
In the latest accident involving an e-scooter, a 15-year-old died after he fell and hit his head while riding an e-scooter in the Qld city of Logan last week.
Dr Radavoi said pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, or cultural and ethnic groups who traditionally socialise on footpaths have been largely ignored by the policymakers.
“I decided to do this research when noticing how the life of pedestrians, people who use wheelchairs, and Aboriginal groups in Darwin has become more difficult with the hundreds of e-scooters rushing on the footpath, often honking at other footpath users to clear the way,” he said.
Dr Radavoi said there was something wrong with how the rules had been made.
“There are problems from allowing heavy machines to drive at high speeds among vulnerable individuals, to allowing e-scooters to be abandoned randomly after use, hindering pedestrian and wheelchair traffic, and creating a risk of accidents,” he said.
Dr Radavoi said the poor design and enforcement of e-scooter rules were the result of a lack transparent process in balancing competing interests between e-scooter users and pedestrians.
Growth in the number and proliferation of e-scooters has been significant across Australia.