Wollongong has become the first city in New South Wales to allow e-scooters to be used in the city centre, as part of a 12-month trial with Neuron.
The trial will begin on Friday 29 September and will allow riders 16 years and older to hop on an e-scooter on eligible roads and shared paths around the city.
The scooters are limited to a maximum of 20km/h on bicycle paths, or roads with a speed limit up to 50km/h. For any shared paths that accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, prams and dog-walkers, a speed limit of 10km/h is in place. E-scooters are not permitted for use on footpaths.
Geofencing technology controls where e-scooters are ridden and parked, and how fast they can travel in certain areas.
Currently, only e-scooters provided through a shared scheme are permitted for use in approved trial areas. Privately owned e-scooters cannot be used in public areas.
Riders will be able to unlock and use e-scooters by downloading Neuron’s app.An e-scooter trial in Armidale also began on Thursday 7 September.
New South Wales Transport Minister, Jo Haylen, said that e-scooters will offer an exciting new and sustainable way to get out and explore Wollongong and that she looks forward to finally kicking off a trial in the middle of one of the state’s major city centres.
“Transport for NSW and Wollongong Council have worked closely to ensure this trial will be safe, a useful new form of transport and importantly, will be a lot of fun,” Ms Haylen said.
“To stay safe while taking part in this trial, wear a helmet, follow the speed limits and don’t drink and ride – and we’ll have technology in place to make sure you follow those rules.”
Illawarra and South Coast Minister, Ryan Park, said that Wollongong boasts an amazing array of shared paths around the CBD and along the coast.
“It is already a great place to get out and walk or bike ride and adding an extra option that is easy and sustainable will be a great addition for locals and tourists to explore our city,” Mr Park said.
“With this new mode of transport hitting pavements, we want to remind everyone to keep an extra eye out for e-scooters, check your blind spot regularly and leave a minimum distance of 1m when passing someone riding an e-scooter.”
Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, said that Wollongong is the best city in the world to ride a bike, so it’s the perfect place to trial e-scooters.
“Until now, e-scooters have only been trialled in parks and regional towns, Wollongong will be the first city in New South Wales to trial them as part of a real micro-mobility transport solution,” Mr Scully said.
“You’ll be able to take one to work, to the beach or anywhere else within the trial zone.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery, said that Wollongong City Council is proud of the significant investment it has made in facilitating access right across the city, from alternative transport options to cars.
“The introduction of e-scooters to the mix will provide people with another choice when it comes to leaving the car at home, and getting from A to B, and also a way for people to explore the city whether they’re tourists, or just enjoying their local area on an e-scooter,” Mayor Bradbery said.
“What is particularly exciting about this trial is that it isn’t just CBD focussed so you’ll be able to hire an e-scooter in Fairy Meadow and ride to Sandon Point and on the return trip wrap up in the CBD.
“It is a trial and community feedback will be key as the rollout progresses. We appreciate the introduction of e-scooters will be an adjustment to our transport network and we will be working closely with Transport for NSW and Neuron to ensure information about how and where to ride safely is made available to everyone.’’
Neuron Mobility General Manager, Jayden Bryant, said that Neuron is delighted to have been chosen by Wollongong City Council to provide its e-scooters as part of the trial and thanked the Council for their trust and support.
“E-scooters are really well suited to Wollongong and they will be a great way for locals as well as tourists to travel in a safe, convenient and environmentally-friendly way,” Mr Bryant said.
“Elsewhere in Australia, e-scooters are significantly reducing congestion and emissions while also helping to boost the local economy. Safety is our top priority, it dictates our e-scooter design and also the way we operate them. Our e-scooters are packed with a range of cutting-edge safety features and we know from experience in other cities that riders really appreciate this.”
Featured image: E-scooters being used at North Beach, Wollongong. Image credit: Wollongong City Council.