Evolution of Scooter Species continues in Darwin with Neuron.
Darwin, most famous for Cyclone Tracey and Crocodile Dundee has become the third Australia city to allow a trial of electric scooters.
By Stephen Coulter and Krystyna Weston, Zipidi Micromobility Insurance
While a typical three or four-letter scooter company name like CROC would have been fun, Singapore based Neuron has launched their Darwin eScooter trial. Their robust scooters, designed in tropical Singapore, are hopefully well suited to Darwin’s extreme climate.
Neuron’s logo could even be an extract from an Aboriginal dot painting!
We proudly own some aboriginal art and suspect the aboriginals invented scooters even before chariots were disrupting Roman streets!
Australia’s Confusing States of Electric Scooter Laws
Darwin’s scooter laws continue the confusing mishmash of laws appearing around Australia.
Laws are biasing operators of share scooters over private ownership, which is an unusual approach to an evolving mode of transport.
Every other mode of transport has many more private owners than hire vehicles, and scooters are no exception elsewhere in the world. Indeed if Darwin’s theory of evolution was allowed and natural selection occurred, we suspect scooter sales would be skyrocketing in Australia. We understand private scooter sales have topped 100,000 in Australia despite their illegality in most states!
Aside from the confusion between private ownership and share scooter operators, different speed limits exist, power is still restricted in some states, and age limits vary.
It’s interesting Darwin has chosen a relatively slow maximum speed of only 15kmh. Australian crocodiles hold the crocodile land speed record of 17kmh! Perhaps this is why there is no parking near the harbour!
The excellent news is helmets are compulsory everywhere — as they are for bikes, and there is mostly consistency about where they can be ridden — more on that next.
Australia is the Superpedestrian of Scooters
Unlike most scooter cities around the world, every Australian state/city with legal scooters has made footpaths(pavements) and shared pathways the dominant area for the legal riding of scooters. Scooters are generally banned from roads and even bike lanes on roads.
(There are some exceptions in Queensland and Victoria where scooters are allowed on minor roads with speed limits of less than 50kmh and no dividing white lines or median strips.)
The anti-scooter pedestrian advocates have seen scooters mostly restricted to roads in the USA and Europe.
While dangers to pedestrians and people with disabilities are headlines, few incidents have occurred in Australia. Footpaths and shared pathways are safer.
Australia’s National Transport Commission is researching safety issues regarding Personal Mobility Devices and has done detailed studies of pedestrian incidents with cyclists. Again, despite the fears, few if any incidents have occurred over decades of mixed-use. The NTC found riders are sensible and moderate their riding style and speed when near pedestrians — they expect scooter riders to behave similarly.
The rising death toll of pedestrians and cyclists being killed by drivers of cars and heavy vehicles highlights the dangers of road use for small, much slower personal mobility devices. Until fully separated and protected micromobility lanes are available for cyclists, scooters and other PMD’s we fully support and advocate their use on safer footpaths and shared pathways.
Darwin’s Evolution of Scooters
Here’s a little more information on the Darwin trial and also a quick video on some of Neuron’s innovation, driven by safety and Australia’s compulsory helmet laws — helmets integrated to hire scooters.