City of Albany council to mull e-scooter trial after surge in popularity in other regional centres

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City of Albany council will consider launching a shared electric scooter trial.
Camera IconCity of Albany council will consider launching a shared electric scooter trial. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

City of Albany council will consider launching a shared electric scooter trial, with Mayor Dennis Wellington saying e-scooters could be a “terrific asset” to the community if managed correctly.

City planning and building services manager Jan Van Der Mescht said the City had been approached by two micromobility companies “to conduct a hireable and shared e-scooter trial within Albany”.

Councillors are set to discuss the possibility of a trial at a committee meeting on September 14.

Shared e-scooters are growing in popularity across metropolitan and regional WA, with trials under way in the local government areas of Stirling, Rockingham, Bunbury and Esperance.

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The City of Greater Geraldton will start a 15-month trial of 300 e-scooters on Friday, with the City of Perth set to follow after its council endorsed the move in May.

The regional trials have all been conducted by mobile hire company Beam, which allows users to unlock an e-scooter for $1 through its 24/7 “pay-as-you-go” mobile app.

In Bunbury, riders pay 45¢ per minute of use and once they are finished, they can park the scooter at a designated area across town ready for a new rider to use.

A surge in e-scooter popularity, particularly in Perth, has coincided with a spate of serious incidents — including at least two deaths. The accidents have sparked calls for tougher rules surrounding their use.

Between January and June, St John WA paramedics responded to 148 call-outs to e-scooter-related crashes.

But Mr Wellington said under the correct safety conditions and good management, e-scooters would be a positive addition.

“What has interested us so far is you can control the speeds in certain areas through a GPS,” he said.

“So once they go into the town area, where there are lots of people, you can slow them down to the point where they are at a walking pace.

“So that is controlled, no one can get on there and speed and knock people over.

“If they are controlled properly and managed properly, I think they are a terrific asset. If they are out of control ... then they can be a problem.”

Mr Wellington said though nothing had been decided, possible locations as part of the trial included the Middleton Beach boardwalk, Emu Point, Middleton Road and the town centre.

“Some people just can’t walk the boardwalk for instance, some of the elderly people might get on a scooter and wander around there and thoroughly enjoy it,” he said.

“I’ve ridden a couple of them and they are easy to use, comfortable and they get you around.”

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