Busselton businessman's fight to remove red tape

Segways. Photo by Shutterstock.
Segways. Photo by Shutterstock.

A state-wide ban on segways has frustrated a Busselton business owner who wants to import the self balancing electric vehicles to start a new tourism venture.

Current legislation bans the use of segways in WA unless they are operated as part of a supervised tour with a tour guide.

Businessman Terry Old said there was so much red tape to make segways legal in WA and he hoped legislation would be changed to that of Queensland and the ACT were segways were legal.

The mobile devices travel up to 18 kilometres per hour, 7kmh slower than electric bikes which are legal and allowed on shared paths and cycle ways.

“Skateboards can be ridden, they often achieve speeds of up to 30kmh depending on the design,” he said.

“Gophers are legal. They also can achieve up to 25kmh depending on the model even though they are supposed to be limited to 10kmh.”

Mr Old said the government was screaming for clean and green power on one hand, but on the other than they turned their nose up to a sensible alternative because of safety concerns.

“They are at very best hypocritical and are obviously being advised by people who should not be in the position they are in.

“The rest of the world has embraced segways and electronic scooters, it is absolutely ridiculous, even for people who live near train stations in Perth,” Mr Old said.

“Instead of driving their car to the train station - people could use motorised scooters – scoot to the station, jump on the train and scoot to the office. 

“No fossil fuel has been used, there is no congestion on the roads and no car park has been used.

“They are clean and green and do not make footprints.”

Mr Old was advised by the Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts that the submission had been sent to the National Transport Authority, which hope to undertake research on a number of vehicles including segways, drones and driver-less vehicles.

The NTA are expected to put a proposal to state-based ministers next month about conducting research on new transport mixes to see if state governments would adopt the same legislation around the country.

Mr Old was advised by the NTA that state governments had yet to commit any funding to the research and that it could take at least two years before a recommendation was made.

“All this government is doing  by hand balling the situation to a national body that does not have jurisdiction over the sates, is stalling the inevitable when they have to make a decision here that will be enacted to become law.”

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said she wanted to ensure a considered and sensible approach was taken before the government permitted the use of segways on roads and paths.

Ms Roberts said things like speed restrictions, the size of the motor and the circumstances in which they could be driven were all factors which needed proper consideration.

“Research on this matter is currently being prepared at a national level and I am interested in getting the advice from that research,” she said.

“Community safety is always our main concern.”

Vasse MP Libby Mettam raised a grievance in parliament last week stating that red tape hindered entrepreneurship on small business owners in WA.

Ms Mettam said the Road Safety Commission considered segways to be a road safety issue if they were ridden across a road because they were unlicensed they would not be covered by third party insurance.

“Pedestrians, bike riders, scooters and electric wheelchairs are allowed to cross the road without a licence or third party insurance,” she said.

“Private individuals are allowed to ride bikes and skateboards, drive gophers and use electric wheelchairs on shared paths without a licence or third party insurance.

“Why do we need such regulations for segways?”

Ms Mettam said regulations which applied to bikes, scooter and other personal mobility devices should be applied to segways and called on the minister to remove the red tape.

Have your say: Should segways be treated the same as bikes, skateboards etc? Why or why not? Email editorial.bdmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

This story Red tape stopping tourism opportunities first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.