2023 may well be the year of the Rabbit but here in Adelaide (& Unley) it may well be the year of the E-Scooter. This, with both the State Government and the Opposition focusing on the absence of laws governing their use.
Likewise with the Adelaide City Council, the City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters, and the City of Unley all extending their trials of hire scooters. Unley last Monday voted to extend our current trial by another 12 months.
Council voted 6-all on a motion moved last Monday by my co-councillor Rebekah Rogers. This forced a casting vote by the Mayor. A vote in favour of extending the trial. To find out who voted which way you can access the minutes here. Check page 3.
The Government has undertaken to review the laws that would govern their use on our roads. Voting to extend the trial will feed information/data to them to assist in framing any laws they may introduce.
And now, the Opposition has jumped into the debate. They have declared they will move for legalising the use of privately-owned scooters when Parliament next sits, in March. Check out this InDaily article.
It is fair to say that using E-Scooters, and other like mobility devices, will become a preferred short-journey form of transport for many. It is something I wholeheartedly support. I expect that the majority use will be privately owned vehicles, not hire vehicles.
The use of this mode of transport indeed will be an integral component of fighting climate change. I explained this more fully in my last blog post on the subject back on August 9 last year.
That said, on this occasion, I voted against extending the trial. Why?
Because I believe we have all the data we need to allow the Government to proceed to legislation. I believe the collection of more data will not add to that required to make the decisions that need to be made. Indeed, I believe the focus of any additional data will be from a misplaced focus on hire scooters, rather than on where it should be, privately owned scooters.
And low and behold, less than one week after we considered the extension of the trial, the State Opposition has broadcast that it intends to introduce legislation in March legalising their use.
So, all singing the same song in the year of the E-Scooter. Perhaps though on a different page.