Electric excitement as e-transport trial rolls on

Neuron photo shoot, Sunshine Coast. Picture: Patrick Woods.

An environmentally friendly, easy to access and safe mode of transport has been embraced on the Sunshine Coast.

Thousands of riders have taken part in an e-scooter and e-bike trial, located in the Mooloolaba and Maroochydore hubs, by hopping on one of the 400 e-scooters and 75 e-bikes now available.

Locals and tourists have been using the new e-transport options as a great way to cruise along the foreshore. The coastal path from Mooloolaba to Alexandra Headland, and along to picturesque Cotton Tree, has proved to be the most popular route.

Since the introduction of the e-transport trial in June, more than 30,000 trips have been taken and 70,000km travelled.

Sunshine Coast Council CEO Emma Thomas has welcomed the transport trial, which is in line with Council’s Environment and Livability Strategy and aims to foster healthy, smart and creative solutions to how we live and move around the region.

“It’s important to provide alternative transport solutions that are kinder to our environment and easily accessible, reducing our reliance on cars, particularly for shorter journeys,’’ Ms Thomas said.

This change in behaviour also supports Council’s Integrated Transport Strategy and our desire to reduce car trips within our region.

Enjoy transport that’s fun and convenient

“An 18-month trial gives the community enough time to embrace this new mode of transport as an enjoyable and convenient way to get around. We encourage everyone to give it a go.

“There is a study that shows increased local spending in another Queensland regional centre that has introduced e-scooters so we are keen to understand the positive impact this form of transport may have for our businesses.”

“It is so simple to get started. Riders can book and use the e-scooters and e-bikes through a user-friendly app, set-up in a matter of minutes, making them a perfect mode of casual transport.

“They are a great way for locals and tourists to travel in a convenient and fun way.

“The app also allows for easy location of the designated parking locations where e-scooters and e-bikes will be available from 5am and 9pm daily.

“Rather than seeing scooters haphazardly left on footpaths and front yards, causing trip hazards, we have chosen to progress with a model where the e-scooters and e-bikes are returned and parked at set locations.”

Seeking community feedback

Neuron Mobility Regional Manager Tim Morris said the community was encouraged to provide feedback during the trial period.

“E-mobility has the potential to be a really valuable part of the regions transport mix,” Mr Morris said.

“We encourage feedback so we can continue to improve the service for riders and the community.

“For example, we are constantly reviewing parking locations based on rider behaviour and direct feedback and have had several requests for additional stations. 

“Adding more stations to suitable locations will make the service more convenient and improve adoption.”

Council has a feedback form available on their website to provide thoughts on the e-transport trial.

Members of the public can also report any immediate issues, including poorly parked e-bikes and e-scooters by contacting Neuron’s Customer Support team, via their app, online form or by phone.  

Safety a ‘top priority’

Neuron Mobility is Australia’s leading e-scooter operator, and has ensured that the e-transport trial offers a safe experience for riders and other road users.

In the short time the trial has been running, Neuron has extensively promoted safety through community events and awareness campaigns, as well as their online riding school, ScootSafe Academy.

Mr Morris said safety was the company’s top priority.

“It dictates the design of our vehicles and the way we operate them.

“All of our e-bikes and e-scooters are GPS-connected and managed by geofencing technology to control where they can be ridden and how fast they can travel.”

As part of the trial, Neuron e-scooters are speed limited to 12km/h on all footpaths and shared paths to stop safely around pedestrians, which aligns with the Queensland State Government rules for Personal Mobility Devices.

Topple detection and a world-first helmet lock are some of the other measures to ensure safe riding.

“The coastal leisure trip is proving most popular at the moment,” he said.

“We’d like to see local’s ditching their cars and trying an e-scooter or e-bike for their daily commute.

“Elsewhere in Australia our riders tell us in surveys that around 45% of all our trips replace car journeys which reduces congestion and improves air quality.

“We hope to be able to see this level of car replacement on the Sunshine Coast.”

The e-scooters and e-bikes are available to hire from a number of designated parking stations located throughout Mooloolaba and Maroochydore.

Neuron’s user-friendly app is available from the App Store or Google Play and can be set up in a matter of minutes. 

Simple rider rules to ensure safety for all road and path users:

  • Riders must be at least 16 years of age
  • No tandem riding
  • A helmet must be worn
  • Riders must keep left and give way to pedestrians
  • Travel at a maximum speed of 12km/h on all footpaths and shared paths to stop safely around pedestrians
  • Travel at a safe distance from pedestrians
  • Keep left of oncoming bicycles and other personal mobility devices
  • Only use the bicycle side of a separated path
  • Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or any other substance
  • Comply with all other Department of Transport and Main Roads ‘Rules for personal mobility devices’.

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