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City's e-bike invasion: Residents say footpath safety is their main concern

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Brisbane residents are worried about what the growing influx of e-bikes and e-scooters means for pedestrian and rider safety and the potential for more street clutter, according to a survey compiled for the Brisbane City Council.

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As the council gives the go-ahead for an extra 800 e-bikes and 2000 e-scooters to start cruising city streets from next month as part of a dramatically expanded hire scheme, the survey shows the scheme’s impact on safety is a major concern for residents.

Some people the council consulted as part of its e-mobility strategy wanted the vehicles – particularly e-scooters – banned altogether while others called for speed limits to be imposed in popular areas for pedestrians.

However, a report on the consultation outcomes found that most who favoured strict limits on the use of e-scooters and e-bikes also realised it was too late for such an outcome.

“Most recognised this was no longer possible given their prevalence and a better option was to manage how they are used to ensure people’s safety’,” the report said.

“Safety was the primary concern for respondents, particularly the speed at which e-mobility devices can travel, the lack of suitable parking creating a hazard and inconsistencies with all users (pedestrians and e-mobility users alike) obeying applicable road rules and observing shared pathway etiquette.”

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced Neuron Mobility and Beam Mobility had been awarded the tender to operate the city’s new sharable electric bike scheme and shareable e-scooters.

He said the expanded scheme would start operating from July 22 to “meet booming demand for the new form of transport”.

“Every single person who jumps on an e-scooter or e-bike is one less car on our road, so this initiative is busting congestion and building a more sustainable Brisbane,” he said.

“We look forward to the purple and orange bikes being available for residents and visitors, along with the expanded e-scooter fleet.”

However, council Opposition leader Jared Cassidy warned of “chaos on our footpaths” because the council had not prepared the city adequately to handle the influx of e-bikes.

“The LNP have encouraged e-scooter companies to operate in Brisbane since 2018 without dealing with the issues around parking and access to footpaths for pedestrians,” he said.

“The LNP have admitted they still don’t have the infrastructure to ensure that our footpaths don’t become dumping grounds for scooters and e-bikes while not in use and yet we will have thousands of these scooters and bikes on our streets soon.”

 

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