Speeding bikes and scooters see more than 1100 sign petition calling for greater pedestrian safety measures
More than 1100 residents have signed a petition calling for greater safety measures to be implemented for pedestrians as the number of electric vehicles on footpaths increases.
The petition has highlighted the prevalence of shared and privately owned e-scooters being used on footpaths, including food delivery bikes, cyclists, and motorbikes; all of which are causing grave concern for many residents.
Through the 1103-strong petition, which was lodged with the City of Port Phillip and considered by councillors at their May 3 meeting, residents from the City of Melbourne and the City of Port Phillip have called for their respective councils to “clearly articulate” to users that they cannot ride on footpaths, and to implement an education program.
The City of Port Phillip acknowledged the petition and has promised to work with residents including advocating to the state government for clear communication of the road rules in relation to the use of bikes, motorbikes and e-scooters on footpaths and other public spaces.
The petition would also see the council support a partnership with Victoria Police and Department Transport and Planning in promoting education programs, surveillance, enforcement, and compliance measures to improve road user behaviour and safety.
“It is really our responsibility to look out for the safety of pedestrians,” Cr Tim Baxter said at the council meeting.
“Obviously there is an issue with new forms of micromobility and transport and a limited amount of space in the inner city of where conflicts are becoming more common.”
Two of the three petition organisers, Diana Andrews and Barbara Thom, who, remarkably, obtained all of the signatures in person as the petition was not circulated online, told Southbank News measures must be taken to reduce the risk of pedestrians being hit by motorised vehicles or bicycles after they had experienced near misses.
“It’s not only us, we hear people telling us that they used to walk along the Yarra River but it’s too dangerous now because there are so many speeding bikes and scooters going along Southbank or other paths,” Ms Thom said.
“I feel as though I have to look behind me on the paths because of speeding cyclists, and some scooters, and also the food delivery riders on motorised bikes.”
The pair, both aged in their late 80s, said that while most cyclists abided by the road rules, it was the delivery bikes that posed the biggest concern because “they’re the ones in a hurry to deliver food”.
“We want to feel safe. If you can’t feel safe walking on a footpath, where can you feel safe?” they said.
In May, shared electric vehicle company Lime announced it would provide insurance protection for third parties even in instances where a rider violates road rules such as riding on footpaths or neglecting to wear a helmet; a measure which comes after being pushed by residents in the April editions of Southbank News and CBD News.
Lime Australia general manager Hugo Burt-Morris said, “Safety comes first and foremost at Lime and we’re proud to demonstrate that with our insurance improvements and our latest campaign, Lime Responsibly.”
“We will continue to look for ways to provide an even safer experience as we educate our riders to drive behaviour change.”
Tim Norman, secretary of the Beacon Cove Neighbourhood Association (BCNA), which represents some of Port Melbourne’s community views as well as those of the Montague precinct, said while their group played no formal role in the petition, it acknowledged both the benefits and dangers of e-scooters.
“We believe a regulatory response will be most appropriate, meaning a review of existing laws and assessing police capability to enforce those and any new constraints that may be imposed,” Mr Norman said.
“In particular, we are concerned that persons legally using footpaths must be protected from wheeled vehicles through physical separation and relevant laws.”
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council would focus on safety and education as part of the shared e-scooter trial extension, while working closely with Victoria Police, the state government, and neighbouring councils.
“We know Melburnians love the shared e-scooter scheme. This green, sustainable, and easy-to-use mode of transport has become a unique way to experience everything Melbourne has to offer while boosting our city’s economy,” she said.
We look forward to working with Neuron and Lime to investigate what further safety measures we can build into the scheme.
Victoria Walks executive officer Ben Rossiter said, “Everyone in our community should be supported to get around without fear, regardless of age or ability.”
The state government said the shared e-scooter trial scheme, which has been extended by six months and allows the use of private e-scooters, would see a primary focus on safety for riders, other road users, and pedestrians.
Meanwhile, Melbourne e-scooter operator Neuron announced it would roll out its new N4 e-scooter across May with an initial 1000 devices to replace their current model in the city, which it said was the “most rider-focused, sustainable and toughest e-scooter ever built”.•