Living Streets Aoteoroa and the Footpaths for Feet Coalition(1) is calling on the government to adopt their commendations of the International Transport Forum(2), which released its report(3) on e- scooters and other micro-vehicles last week.
The three most significant recommendations in the current context of rapidly growing micro- mobility options were that:
- protected space should be allocated for e-scooters and other micro-mobility devices or where micromobility devices and motor vehicles share road space the speed limits should be lowered to 30km/h. The focus should remain on the danger that motor vehicles pose other road users
- micromobility devices capable of only low speeds should be regulated as bicycles while those capable of higher speeds should be regulated as mopeds
- eliminate incentives for users of rental micromobility device to speed such as by requiring charging by distance rather than time.
The report offers ten recommendations for policy makers, city planners, operators and manufacturers:
1. Allocate protected space for micromobility
Create a protected and connected network for micromobility. This can be done by calming traffic or by creating dedicated spaces. Micro-vehicles should be banned from sidewalks or subject to a low, enforced speed limit.
2. To make micromobility safe, focus on motor vehicles
The novelty of e-scooters should not distract from addressing the risk motor vehicles pose for all other road users. Where vulnerable road users share space with motor vehicles, speed limits should be 30 km/h or less.
3. Regulate low-speed micro-vehicles as bicycles
Micromobility can make urban travel more sustainable. To prevent over-regulation, low-speed micro-vehicles such as e-scooters and e-bikes should be treated as bicycles. Faster micro-vehicles should be regulated as mopeds.
4. Collect data on micro-vehicle trips and crashes
Little is known about micro-vehicles’ safety performance. Police and hospitals should collect accurate crash data. Road safety agencies should collect trip data via operators, travel surveys and on-street observation. The statistical codification of vehicle types must be updated and harmonised.
5. Proactively manage the safety performance of street networks
Many shared micro-vehicles possess motion sensors and GPS. These can yield useful data on potholes, falls and near crashes. Authorities and operators should collaborate to use them for monitoring and maintenance.
6. Include micromobility in training for road users
Training for car, bus and truck drivers to avoid crashes with micro-vehicle riders should be mandatory. Cycle training should be part of the school curriculum. Training programmes should be regularly evaluated and revised.
7. Tackle drunk driving and speeding across all vehicle types
Governments should define and enforce limits on speed, alcohol and drug use among all traffic participants. This includes motor vehicle drivers and micromobility users.
8. Eliminate incentives for micromobility riders to speed
Operators of shared micromobility fleets should ensure their pricing mechanisms do not encourage riders to take risks. By-the-minute rental can be an incentive to speed or to ignore traffic rules.
9. Improve micro-vehicle design
Manufacturers should enhance stability and road grip. Solutions could be found in pneumatic tyres, larger wheel size and frame geometry. Indicator lights could be made mandatory and brake cables better protected.
10. Reduce wider risks associated with shared micromobility operations. The use of vans for re-positioning or re-charging micro-vehicles should be minimised, as they impose additional risks on all road users. Cities should allocate parking space for micro-vehicles close to bays for support vans.