Disappointment as commuters lose scooters

The exciting, new trial of electric scooters along Adelaide’s coastline has been short-lived as the scooters were removed from SA beaches in an effort to contain COVID-19.  (Image source: Chelsea Shepherd) 

By Chelsea Shepherd | @Chelsea15183902

With the critical development of COVID-19, popular scooter company Neuron has decided to remove their fleet of electric scooters (e-scooters) from Adelaide’s coastline.

The increasingly popular mode of transport was going to be on trial from March to September 2020 until rival company, Ride, announced they were withdrawing their fleet of scooters earlier in the week.

Neuron, who had already reduced the number of e-scooters along the foreshore in the wake of COVID-19, has now followed suit and removed all scooters.

It comes after mounting pressures about the hygiene of the scooters, in a time where poor sanitation can be detrimental to public safety.

Neuron’s e-scooters are accessed via their app, which allows users to use a map function to locate a scooter.

Users can then connect their bank account and scan the barcode located on the scooters.

Scooters can be unlocked for $1 and the user is then charged $0.38 per minute of riding.

To finalise the trip, riders must park their e-scooters at a designated parking bay located along the coast every 500m.

Joe Oliver is the Head of Communications at Neurons scooters; his role is to change negative perceptions as well as manage and avoid crises.

“Neuron’s e-scooters are purpose-built for safety and sharing,” he said.

“The scooters use geofencing (a technology which creates a virtual boundary) to ensure riders remain on the beachfront path to avoid mistreating them.”

The same technology is used to create ‘slow zones’ where the scooters are automatically set to a lower speed in areas of high foot traffic, allowing pedestrians to feel safe.

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Slow zone signage on the Semaphore beach path. (Image source: Chelsea Shepherd)

The e-scooters, which were located along the Adelaide coastline from Outer Harbour to Seacliff, were an exciting way to explore Adelaide’s coastline.

Mr David Wilkins, Deputy Mayor at the city of Port Adelaide Enfield Council, was extremely positive about the introduction of them.

“The e-scooters are fun, safe, cost-effective, environmentally friendly,” he said.

“They have reduced pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and reduced noise.”

In terms of safety, riders must ensure they wear the supplied bike helmet or provide their own approved one, use warning alarms such as a horn or bell and obey speed limits.

Normal road laws apply when riding an e-scooter.

“Riders must not have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or more, or the presence of cannabis, methylamphetamine or ecstasy in their blood or oral saliva,” he said.

Riders are also prohibited to use their mobile phone while riding.

If caught disobeying these laws they could potentially lose their motor vehicle license.

After walking along part of the 30km route which the scooters were located, it was clear that despite the Coronavirus pandemic, members of the public still enjoyed using the scooters.

Ms Chloe Fahy is a member of the public who regularly uses the e-scooters.

“They’re a great way to get from beach to beach without having to use public transport,” she said.

“I use them at least once a fortnight.”

She also mentioned that her sister uses e-scooters to get from her Henley Beach home to the Grange train station where the train takes her to the city for work.

Prior to the withdrawal of Neuron scooters, each e-scooter was sanitised and checked for charging twice a day.

“We remain committed to the trial and look forward to resuming services as soon as the situation permits,” Mr Wilkins said.

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