NSW Roads Minister More Interested In Revenue Raising Than Hoverboard Research
Take Duncan Gay the Minister for Roads, who really is, Mr kill joy, a man who is obsessed with collecting revenues from just about anything that moves, he calls it “safety” but most residents know that it is all about revenue raising.
His latest cash grab target is Hoverboards.
Then you have the Premier Mike Baird who is responsible for the Barrangaroo portfolio where at the weekend Panasonic photographer Ken Duncan was threatened to for simply taking pictures of the new Sydney precinct.
He was told he needed a permit another fund raising initiative, by a Government that spends millions trying to get publicity for NSW, and Sydney.
As for Duncan Gay he claims that a hoverboard is a “contraption” he has deemed them are illegal on NSW roads and footpaths – and anyone caught breaking the law he claims will cop a fine of up to $637.
“I don’t want to be the Christmas Grinch but I want people to know and send a message that these new toys have real safety concerns.”
Really, what would he know?
I suspect he has never ridden a hoverboard let alone done any research into Hoverboards as there are very few in the Country.
We asked the Minister’s PR spin doctors as he is a Minister who “Lovvvvvves” seeing himself in the media, as to what research was done or even considered prior to his statement on the issue.
The comment that was sent back came from Bernard Carlon the Acting Executive Director for Road Safety.
He said “Hover Boards don’t have adequate brakes, lights or warning indicators, and can be difficult to control, meaning they can’t interact safely with other people on the road”.
This is despite the fact that one only has to lean back to stop the device.
He then went on to say “Riders endanger pedestrians on footpaths – Hoverboards are capable of hitting 26km/hour and with some being 20 times more powerful than legal electric bicycles”.
He added “Riders endanger themselves on roads because they’re unprotected around other vehicles like cars and trucks”.
What about cyclists who jump lights ride through pedestrian crossings, ride on pavements and weave in and out of traffic.
These riders take risks way beyond what a Hoverboard rider could ever do.
Carlon claims The Centre for Road Safety is working with its counterparts across the country to figure out how and where people can use hover boards safely, and develop national laws and safety standards for personal electric transport devices.
He did not nominate which other State or Territory are doing research and at this stage SmartHouse cannot find one Government department that is researching Hoverboards.
“Until we can make sure hover boards are safe to use, we won’t take any risks. People wanting to ride hover boards can use them on private property”.
In other word’s they have done no research on the issue of Hoverboards but they are looking to raise revenue.
On Thursday, California passed legislation that allow the use of electric skateboards and other motorised, wheeled devices such as “Hoverboards” anywhere bicycles are allowed, reversing earlier legislation which banned the vehicles.
They actually went out and did research.
Now roads Minister Gay has a perfect opportunity to win some friends and put to real use, the hundreds of kilometres of cycle paths that are springing up all over NSW.
Are hoverboard riders any more dangerous than a cyclist who weaves in and out of traffic at speeds significantly faster than what a hoverboard will do.
As a kid I remember building billy carts and then speeding down hills, my biggest problem was my mother when I used my school shoes as a break.
Then we use to roller blade along the pavement without any fear of getting nicked. And while we wore knee pads we did not wear helmets.
Remember this is a Government who controls the National Parks where board riders plough into skiers. With some serious consequences.
There is no fines for them.
Last week California passed legislation that takes effect on 1 January 2016.
The new law, called AB 604, defines “electrically motorised boards” as a new legal category (characterised by moving no faster than 32klm per hour, carrying only one person, and being no bigger than 152cm by 45.7cm), California also allows people to ride them on public streets.
It also requires the rider to wear a helmet, and bans their use of while under the influence of drink or drugs.
If Gay adopted this approach he could put all those hidden speed trucks to further use hunting down speeding hoverboard riders.
The bill is specifically aimed at legalising electric skateboards similar to the one now being sold by Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi.
Landowners still have the right to bar use of the devices which means that LA airport is persona non grata for all those Aussies taking their Hoverboards on holiday, though you will have a problem passing them off as baggage as the Lithium batteries that Hoverboards use are banned by a lot of airlines, including Qantas.
If Gay was serious about winning over younger voters and those who actively engage in adventure sports and fitness activities, Gay obviously doesn’t partake of such activities, he would have seriously considered this issue instead of delivering his verbal spray on the issue of Hoverboard use.
What he has done is come over as an old fart, a Minister who is out of touch with technology and where technology is going.
I seriously suspect that he is one of those Ministers that struggles to use a smartphone let alone understand the technology behind a hoverboard that is no more dangerous than a person on a pushbike, especially those who ride bicycles along pavement.
Here we have Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull talking about innovation and technology. Then we have young Wyatt Roy who is keen to promote technology, innovation and products like Hoverboards.
As for Gay he will spend Xmas counting the millions flowing in from speed cameras that snap one doing 55klm an hour in a 50 klm zone.