The National Transport Commission (NTC) is reviewing Australian Road Rules (ARRs) to identify any regulatory barriers that may prevent the safe use of innovative vehicles and motorised mobility devices (MMDs). The issues paper will encompass electric skateboards, scooters and unicycles as well as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters which are capable of being driven, ridden or operated on a road or road-related area. Its intended purpose is to provide rules that encourage safe and easy access for all innovative vehicles and MMDs.
The NTC will use stakeholder feedback to develop a discussion paper for release in June 2019.
ATSA executive officer, David Sinclair, welcomed the review as meaningful discussions are now underway for MMDs and their use in public spaces. “The NTC issues paper is not just looking at the problem around MMDs in isolation but all public space users with national uniformity in mind,” Sinclair told F2L. “Both users and sellers of MMDs need to support the NTC with feedback to ensure the most suitable solution is found.”
However, RothCorp Australia managing director, Ian Rothall expressed disappointment that there was no comment about new infrastructure required for shared pathways. “The report is mostly positive towards MMDs and I think we can work with the NTC to get a beneficial outcome regarding maximum speed and the issue of Austroads wanting to have class A equipment meeting class B test results,” he said. “A lot of the report is around new innovative vehicles and finding safety solutions for them and all shared path users.
“It was interesting to note that the Queensland Government passed new laws in December that allows Lime scooters to be used on footpaths with a maximum speed of up to 25kph but will only allow MMDs to have a maximum speed up to 10kph. I would suggest a safer speed for all equipment is 15kph.”
According to the NTC, the current regulatory framework is outdated and does not accommodate the safe use of these devices. The design and capacity of the road system to cater for a diverse range of vehicles in Australia is increasingly being tested with additional demand for access by new categories of vehicles
Individuals or organisations can make a submission to the NTC by considering the questions listed in the paper which:
- Seeks to reach a complete and common understanding of the problem
- Recognise recent work completed by various parties relating to the use and safety of MMDs
- Identify and provide an analysis of the key issues to consider as part of the project, prior to developing potential solutions.
Feedback is also being considered on any aspect of the paper including: issues that have not been identified, whether government action is needed, options for reform and likely costs, and operational impact on the broader community, government, business and other organisations.
Submissions will be accepted until February 28, 2019. To submit online go to: www.ntc.gov.au and select ‘submissions’ from the top navigation menu. Or, mail to: Attn: Anthony Pepi, Productivity and Safety Team National Transport Commission, Level 3, 600 Bourke Street Melbourne VIC 3000.
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