Scooter rules 'out of date'

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull advocates healthier forms of transport. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull advocates healthier forms of transport. Photo: Gregor Richardson
New Zealand's transport regulations must be fully updated, so that e-scooters are not being ''shoehorned'' into rules that are decades out of date, Dunedin Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says.

Mr Cull was commenting in a welcoming address to more than 30 people at an ''Active Living and Environment Symposium'' at the University of Otago, which focused on ''Linking Transport, Health and Sustainability''.

The gathering was organised by Otago's Active Living Laboratory.

Mr Cull said Lime scooters were making a positive contribution to Dunedin's transport options.

But he was also concerned about safety issues for pedestrians arising from the use of e-scooters, and also about the safety of scooter users themselves.

A key challenge was that the underlying transport regulations had been developed under very different circumstances many decades ago, and Mr Cull urged the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to update the rules.

The DCC was prepared to work with NZTA on that, and he warned that new forms of transport were already on the way.

''There will be hover-boards next week''.

Mr Cull also outlined DCC efforts to promote more sustainable and more active transport options, including efforts with NZTA to install cycle lanes on central Dunedin highways after a cycle death in 2011.

''We have to be aspirational, and along the way we won't achieve perfection,'' he said.

''Is the alternative not to try?

''That's not in our DNA,'' he said.

Otago University sciences pro-vice chancellor Prof Richard Barker highlighted the need to increase physical exercise in an increasingly sedentary and car-dominated lifestyle.

Otago head of sustainability Dr Hilary Phipps outlined plans to make major gains in sustainability on campus, rather than ''tinkering at the edges''.

Approached for comment, an NZTA spokeswoman said the Government had stated further regulations for the use of e-scooters, including speed limits and helmet use, would be considered after trials under way in Auckland.

The Ministry of Transport was also developing a ''regulatory package to encourage better designed and regulated footpaths that cater to all users''.

Current rules governing e-scooter use did not require e-scooter riders to wear a helmet, but NZTA strongly recommended they be worn, she said.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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