Where is the planning?
REFERRING to your two recent articles in the Voice both relating to e-mobility devices (“e-Trouble on the footpath,” “E-scooter share on cards,” Voice, June 4, 2022).
The two articles do relate in the sense that they point to larger issues which have not been addressed in either the media, nor by the government and local government agencies responsible; in this case Road Safety Commission, Main Roads WA, the Department of Transport, the Police, and all local governments.
The core matter that lies behind issues of crash incidents on footpaths, and the introduction of share e-devices schemes is the provision of separated, safe routes for these devices and human-powered bicycles.
This means actual separation from pedestrians and motor vehicles along routes which have speeds above 30kmh.
On local streets where vehicle traffic is less, these routes need to be prioritised as routes for pedestrian, human-powered and e-mobility devices, and the upper speed for ALL users set at 30kmh.
No need for excessive and expensive engineered road architecture.
E-mobility device users use footpaths because they currently are not allowed on roads with speeds of 50kmh or more (This does not apply to e-bicycles).
On other roads they are not allowed if there is a white middle dividing line or a median strip on the road; they cannot use a one-way road if it has two lanes; they cannot use their vehicle after the hours of darkness.
Even on roads of 50kmh or above where there are on-road bike paths, e-devices are not legally allowed to use that path. So where do they go?On to the footpaths.
E-scooter docked rideshare schemes have been highly successful in countries and areas of Australia where there are separated lanes or paths for their use.
As long as we avoid the necessary discussions, decisions and funding required to separate pedestrians from all other mobile devices, pedal bicycles, e-scooters, e-bicycles etc, and understand and value these forms of transport as serious and valuable contributors to improving our environment, our health and well-being, and our transport network, we will continue to see similar headlines to those above.
The Ed says: Thanks Geraldine, that’s exactly why we put the story on the front page. It’s clear e-devices are growing in popularity and are more than just a passing fad, so where is the forward planning? Introducing confusing and discouraging rules just simply doesn’t cut it and it’s unacceptable to sit on your hands while pedestrians cop it.
WHAT is an eScooter?
Harley Davidson produce electric motorbikes. Are they eScooters? Should I ride one on the footpath?
A: Being motorised, eScooters must be motor vehicles and should, therefore, be subject to Motor Vehicle Laws.
B: eScooterists should have standard drivers licences, should wear helmets and should drive their vehicles on the roads.
Dawn chorus that’s at risk
EARLY morning and looking out from the front veranda, the rain is pouring down.
At their roost sites, will the Carnaby’s Cockatoos be sitting it out waiting for a more propitious time to leave for the day’s foraging?
Perhaps with a few rays of sunlight peeking through the clouds, the cockatoos will fly off, shaking their tail feathers so that the rain-drops fly off.
The Swan Coastal Plain is an important foraging area for Carnaby’s but because of habitat destruction and loss of linkages, the birds have had to adapt and learn to find new foods. On a daily basis cockatoos feed in residents’ gardens.
These intelligent great birds, have learnt to feed on various native and exotic plants, including seeds extracted from pine cones.
As reported in the Perth Voice, Saturday May 7, 2022, the pines are being harvested there until the whole lot is gone. What remains is about 6,000 hectares of the original 26,000 hectares, that supports a mega-flock of 4,000 Carnaby’s or more. Carnaby’s Cockatoos are already on a path to extinction and the article quotes film maker Jane Hammond as saying “They will be extinct in 20 years unless we do something”.
A previous environment minister, Stephen Dawson, for the sake of cockatoos, stopped pine harvesting for a year and pine was supplied to the building industry from elsewhere. However, after a moratorium for one year, the harvesting resumed.
There is a choice. Save that last area of Gnangara pines, so that the huge flock of Carnaby’s that feed there has a chance of breeding and surviving into the future. Or keep harvesting until all the pines have gone, and condemn those cockatoos to starvation and extinction.