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E-scooter trial begins in Western Sydney parks as another Sydney council opts-out

E-scooter trial begins in Western Sydney parklands, as more Sydney councils decide not to participate. Photo: Pixabay.

By AMBER GRIFFIN

Waverley Council, which covers eastern Sydney suburbs such as Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama, is now another council in the area of Sydney’s central suburbs to opt-out of an e-scooter trial, following the City of Sydney and the Inner West Council.

This comes as the state government initiated trial for shared scheme e-scooters has now begun in National Park areas in Sydney’s West.

Active Transport Minister Rob Stokes announced that the first trials would go ahead on July 30 in Western Sydney Parklands’ Bungarribee Park, Lizard Log and Shale Hills, as well as The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

“Like any new technology, e-scooters present us with enormous opportunities and several challenges to address before we can permanently permit them on our streets,” Stokes said.

Stokes said that the government has “taken our time to get this trial right which is why we’re not rushing into rolling this trial out to interested council areas immediately,”.

Domino of Sydney councils saying no to trial; for now

Waverley council voted in a July council meeting to monitor other councils before opting in to the trial.

Reasons for the trials deferral include Waverley Council’s small number of cycleways and limited space where e-scooters can be legally ridden, as well as the fact that Waverley already has a number of e-bike operators across the LGA.

City of Sydney council explained their decision not to participate, which was announced before other councils.

“The City of Sydney, independent of other councils in Sydney, has made the decision that the busiest metropolitan area in Australia isn’t the best place for a trial of e-scooters” a spokesperson told City Hub.

“This is primarily due to the high levels of pedestrian activity and a separated bike network that is still under construction.”

The council said they are going to “monitor progress in trials elsewhere”, and will consider participating in the future, “when the conditions are improved”.

City of Sydney Council cited current projects for improving cycleway connectivity and riding infrastructure, such as the Pitt Street Cycleway which is currently under construction.

“As our safe, separated cycleway is completed, the options for a safer trial for e-scooters becomes easier.”

The Inner-West council explained that their decision not to join in was “due to similar concerns raised by City of Sydney”, a council spokesperson said.

“These were mainly around safety issues for pedestrians, in particular our narrow, very busy footpaths.”

North Sydney expresses interest in participating

North Sydney Council, which lies just over the harbour bridge from the City of Sydney LGA, announced interest in the trial in March this year.

A spokesperson from North Sydney council said to City Hub that “Council is aware of the City of Sydney’s position” on the trial.

“We still intend to participate in the trial and are awaiting further advise and information from TfNSW” the spokesperson said.

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