Would you ride an e-scooter around Bendigo?
That's the question City of Greater Bendigo staff would ask the community if council votes to support a 12-month e-scooter trial at its meeting on Monday, November 20.
Councillors would be presented with a report on how e-scooter trials have fared in other cities including Ballarat.
City strategic planning manager Anthony Petherbridge said the report considered the requirements for the trial to work effectively in Bendigo.
"Our research primarily focused on e-scooter trial experiences in Ballarat and Launceston in Tasmania," he said.
"Both cities are similar in size to Bendigo in terms of population and economy."
The main reasons people hired a trial e-scooter were leisure, social outings, commuting or to visit cafes, the report said, with e-scooters "reducing congestion and carbon emissions".
The proposed trial area would stretch from Scott Street, Ascot to La Trobe University in the south, the Bendigo Showgrounds in the east, and Strathdale Park in the west.
The area would include tourist destinations including the Bendigo Botanic Gardens, the Bendigo Regional Athletic Complex, and Central Deborah Gold Mine.
No-go zones would include roads where the speed limit exceeds 60 kilometres per hour, Lyttleton Terrace near Coles, and Pall Mall, Hargreaves Street and Bull Street on Friday and Saturday Nights.
Rosalind Park, Lake Weeroona, Hargreaves Mall and Pall Mall could be considered "no-go" or "slow speed zones".
Scooters reportedly ended up in Ballarat lake
During Ballarat's trial, operated by Neuron since December 2021, 250 e-scooters have covered a 25-square kilometre riding area.
According to The Courier, there were 15 "e-scooter related presentations" to Ballarat Base Hospital from January 1 to February 28, 2023.
There have been reports of some of the Neuron hire scooters ending up in Lake Wendouree.
According to the City of Greater Bendigo staff report, most e-scooter trips in Ballarat and Launceston ranged between two kilometres and 2.5 kilometres.
Bendigo city staff contacted several hire scooter companies to understand how they operate, and asked about parking, use of apps, the response to incidents/queries, and education programs.
"The operator should play a role in community education, as well as monitoring and maintenance," the report said.
"Operators that offer e-bikes as well as e-scooters should be prioritised so that the City can consider adding e-bikes to the scheme at a later stage."
State government extended statewide e-scooter trial
The Department of Transport announced in October a summer extension to its statewide trial, which included private users, as it grappled with safety and regulations and pondered whether to make the vehicles permanent.
The trial was extended to "collect the most comprehensive dataset to inform the future of the program in Victoria".
"There have been no significant safety incidents during the trial period, the trial covering private scooters has only run through the winter months - and data shows both e-scooter use and incidents peak during the warmer period," a spokesperson for the state government said in October.
E-scooters had a maximum speed of 20 kilometres, riders must wear helmets and not ride on footpaths, not carry passengers on their scooters, and abide by the same alcohol, drug and mobile device restrictions as if they were driving a car.