Applicants for Hervey Bay e-scooter service must address key safety concerns

BUSINESSES wanting to tender for a permit to operate a commercial e-scooter service in Hervey Bay will have to explain how they plan on addressing issues around rider behaviour, safety and helmet wearing.

Bird e-scooters Hervey Bay - good news fraser coast
Following a recent trial in Hervey Bay, the Fraser Coast Regional Council says it will now call for tenders to award a commercial permit for the ongoing operation of commercial e-scooters in the city. PHOTO: File / Shaun Ryan.

Applicants will also have to outline possible areas for permanent scooter parking.

This as the Fraser Coast Regional Council released results of a survey on commercial e-scooters in the city yesterday.

Results indicated e-scooters for hire were especially popular among younger residents commuting to and from work.

“The results from a survey of residents following a six-month trial of e-scooters in the Bay by international company Bird, indicate that they were the main mode of transport for 18 to 24 for year old residents,” Council said it a statement.

The development comes just days after the Queensland Government announced new reforms to regulate the use of e-scooters across the State.

Following the local trial and analysis of community feedback, the Fraser Coast Regional Council will now call for tenders to award a commercial permit for the ongoing operation of e-scooter rentals.

Division 10 Councillor Zane O’Keefe said e-scooters offer a low-cost, environmentally friendly transport alternative and also helped reduce traffic.

Find it Fraser Coast

“Since the trial started in July 2021, Bird registered more than 50,000 rides in Hervey Bay, with close to one in five residents using an e-scooter during the trial,” Cr O’Keefe said.

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The next step for Council is to call for companies interested in operating an e-scooter rental business on the Fraser Coast to tender for a permit to operate.

“The tender conditions would take into account feedback we received following the trial, including ways to increase the number of riders wearing helmets and the orderly parking of scooters,” Cr O’Keefe said.

“Personal mobility devices, including e-scooters, are rising in popularity in Australia, and Queensland legislation already allows the use of privately owned e-scooters on the Fraser Coast.

“While rider behaviour was mentioned in the feedback, there are solutions to reduce these issues.” 

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The permit would be for 12-months with the potential for a two-year extension. It would specify the number of scooters allowed, operating speed in built up areas as well as the locations where rental e-scooters can operate. 

Applicants would need to address concerns regarding rider behaviour and safety as well as outline locations for permanent scooter parking and ways to better enforce helmet wearing.

Applications can also put forward proposals for a six-month trial of e-scooter rentals in Maryborough.

“Any funds raised from the permit fee could be channelled into improved active transport infrastructure such as parking and widening of footpaths and shared paths” Cr O’Keefe said.

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The Hervey Bay trial results indicated that the scooters were significantly used by people aged 18 to 24 to travel to and from work. 

“Access to affordable and flexible transport options will help more people in this age group get to education facilities, job interviews and jobs which will help address local labour shortages,” Cr O’Keefe said.

“They also improve tourists’ ability to travel between businesses and to enjoy the local attractions.”

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Feedback identified several concerns such as parking scooters in inappropriate locations, the instability of the scooters which were regularly found lying on the ground and riders not using helmets.

Feedback suggested that many residents and visitors tried and enjoyed using the scooters.

The number of rides during the trial suggests that there is enough local demand and that some residents used the rental e-scooters as their main method of transport around Hervey Bay.

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