Safety summit addresses community concerns including e-scooter use

Safety summit addresses community concerns including e-scooter use
Brendan Rees

A safety summit has been staged bringing together the City of Melbourne, Victoria Police, residents’ groups and stakeholders, to address various issues facing the municipality.

More than 50 people attended the August 19 summit at Town Hall, including the Kensington Association, where issues of safety infrastructure, safety at night, community policing, and the Connect Respect program were among the topics discussed.

The Connect Respect program, which is delivered by the Council to Homeless Persons and the City of Melbourne, helps businesses build their understanding of and support their response to homelessness in the city.  

Victoria Police and members of the City of Melbourne City Safety team also gave presentations. 

 

“Community safety is a priority for us at the City of Melbourne,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said, adding the summit aimed to “facilitate safer neighbourhoods for everyone and agree on actions to be taken”.

 

“We heard from Victoria Police and our own City Safety team, as well as broader questions and feedback from our presidents of residents’ community groups,” she said.

“We’re looking forward to continuing these discussions and working together towards agreed outcomes.”

The Lord Mayor said the council would investigate increasing lighting outside commercial buildings, as well as making it easier for building owners to install external CCTV cameras.

Cr Capp said the council would also find ways of better communicating safety programs it had in place.

The Kensington Association’s chair Simon Harvey said the summit was a “very good initiative” with proactive community members in attendance.

While the meeting focussed on CBD-related issues, Mr Harvey said one point of discussion, which was relevant to Kensington, was the policing of e-scooters.

He said privately-owned e-scooters have “got more power and they are the problem”, however the e-scooters that are part of a 12-month City of Melbourne trial “seem to be okay”.

“Lots of people are using them and it’s great that they have got that trial,” he said, but added ways of policing the riders of privately-owned e-scooters was the bigger issue.

His concerns come as Victoria Police have recently launched a crackdown on e-scooter riders in a bid to improve road safety ahead of the warmer months.

Victoria Police Road Policing Command Superintendent Justin Goldsmith said there was still confusion around the rules with the trial e-scooters and privately-owned e-scooters, but warned the onus was on riders to ensure they understood the rules.

“Victoria Police will be increasing its focus on e-scooter riders coming into spring and summer – if you’re using an e-scooter, you should expect to be intercepted and spoken to by police,” he said.

“Education is always our preference, but we won’t hesitate to issue infringements for non-compliance and blatant disregard for the rules – particularly if it involves putting other road users’ safety at risk.”

 

In addition to enforcing rules around the e-scooter trial, police will target privately-owned e-scooters, which, under current laws, are illegal if they travel more than 10km/h or have a power output greater than 200 watts, and therefore cannot be used on public roads, bike lanes or footpaths in Victoria.

 

On-the-spot fines of $185 or more can be issued for non-compliance with trial e-scooter rules.

Privately-owned high-powered e-scooters, which can only be legally ridden on private property, are considered a motor vehicle and riders can receive a $925 fine for using an unregistered vehicle.  •

 

Caption: Illegal use of e-scooters will be targeted by police.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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