Riding shotgun: Trial will use spy cameras to monitor unsafe riding on e-scooters

Victorian e-scooter riders who break road rules will get audio alerts for illegal behaviour under a trial set to be rolled out more broadly.

Aug 11, 2023, updated Aug 11, 2023
Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios riding a e-scooter on Elizabeth street in Melbourne. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios riding a e-scooter on Elizabeth street in Melbourne. (AAP Image/James Ross)

A fleet of 25 Lime e-scooters in Melbourne has been fitted with audio and camera capabilities in a bid by the City of Melbourne to crack down on illegal behaviour.

Under the pilot, riders’ movements would be tracked and those detected riding on a footpath or tandem would get an audio alert to prompt them to stop, the council said.

Neuron Mobility and Lime have deployed e-scooters for the trial.

Lime said the camera and audio capabilities could be rolled out to the state’s wider fleet.

“The pilot is live and working, and we are continually testing and learning rider behaviour,” Lime general manager Hugo Burt-Morris said on Friday.

“We will continue to scale this technology as we see behaviour change.”

The Victorian government extended the state’s e-scooter trial for another six months from April this year, but it is yet to determine whether the e-scooters will become a permanent fixture in the state.

The Melbourne council is also probing whether to mark out parking stations on streets and footpaths to show where riders should hire and return e-scooters.

A suite of other technological developments for the state’s e-scooters are in the works, including artificial intelligence systems to ensure correct parking, alcohol detection systems and identity verification systems to target underage riders.

A pilot of in-app communication to direct riders to parking zones is already under way on Swanston and Elizabeth streets in the city centre, and at Jolimont in East Melbourne.

That trial has reduced complaints by 55 per cent, the City of Melbourne said.

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Neuron has rolled out a designated parking model in Ballarat and Frankston, where riders can only start and end their trips in specified areas.

“(We) recognise that there has been frustration felt by members of the community about people breaking the rules and causing nuisance around the city,” acting mayor Nicholas Reece said.

“We have listened and we have acted.

“We are also working closely with Victoria Police to ensure the small minority of people doing the wrong thing are held accountable.”

The council is expected to consider a range of e-scooter developments at Tuesday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

If the developments are endorsed, the council will lobby the state government for higher standards for riders and for the legal power to manage an e-scooter scheme with operators.

City of Melbourne representatives have begun talks with other inner-Melbourne municipalities about the possible expansion of the e-scooter scheme.

More than 99.9 per cent of Neuron trips in the Melbourne trial have ended safely and without incident, the company said.

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