Distributors Face EPV Ban, Scooters & eSkateboards
Australian distributors who are importing electric portable vehicles such as scooters and e skateboards face the real risk of the products being banned and Companies fined for importing illegal devices say NSW sources.
This is despite some EPV products being legal in Australia.
A similar ban sent Melbourne based distributor Kasser Baas broke when they imported banned hoverboards.
At the time Kaiser Baas that was run by CEO Evan Kourambas, faced being pursued for insolvent trading after the Company was placed into liquidation in May 2018 owing over $3.8 million.
At the time Kourumbas said that he was going to sue the Federal Government over the Hoverboard ban.
Currently the only State to allow electric scooters to be ridden is Queensland where pedestrians are now having to contend with both bicycles and electric scooters being ridden on pavements.
More than 400,000 electric scooters and e boards have been sold in Queensland legally while another 70,000 are believed to have been sold in Victoria and NSW.
Investigations by ChannelNews reveal that some of the devices being shipped into Australia are illegal and noncompliant”.
According to George Saad, Chief Operating Officer at Panmi who imports Xiaomi Scooters from China along with Sedgeway devices a “lot” of devices currently being sold by online retailers don’t comply with the Queensland regulations and are illegal in several states of Australia.
Recently Saad identified one Australian web site where several devices that don’t comply with the Queensland regulations were being sold. These devices are also banned in NSW, Victoria, SA and WA.
He pointed out the difference in approved speeds as one key factor.
E-skateboards can travel at speeds up to 40km an hour, the same speed as cars in a school zone.
In Brisbane I have personally seen these devices being ridden at high speeds in the busy Queen Street Mall weaving in and out of pedestrians.
I also saw one rider who had his daughter on the device and was wearing no helmet and rode past police officers.
Saad said “We are currently lobbying the NSW and Victorian Government to approve the use of these devices but at this stage they are banned. We are open to working “.
Currently several retails are selling the illegal scooters and boards Ben Sterrey, of Ben Buckler Boards in Marrickville, said that he was selling three a day.
Bill Vertucci from Manly Blades Store in NSW sells about 600 rideable per year.
One Chinese run online site which has markets the boards in Australia said that they were shipping up to 14 boards a day into NSW and Victoria.
According to Ben Sterrey, “People are spending anywhere from $1000 to $3000 on their electric portable vehicles purely because there’s no parking, so much traffic congestion, public transport’s not good enough and they want freedom of mobility,” he told Fairfax Media.
A NSW Government source said “A key factor is that unlike cars and bicycles these devices are unregulated and while the devices have a brake they also have an accelerator that allows the devices to accelerate to speeds that are extremely dangerous especially if they are being ridden on pavements and boardwalks”.
“Any impact with a pedestrian could cause serious injury if not a death and this is why they need to be regulated or banned”.
Pedestrian Council of Australia CEO Harold Scruby said rideable created unsafe footpaths. “People – especially the elderly, vision impaired and young children, who need safe footpaths for their regular exercise – may stop walking altogether with the increased risks and the fact that the highest cause of avoidable death after 50 is from a fall,” Mr Scruby said.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said a “working group” is “considering issues” such as pedestrian safety ahead of a possible e-scooter trial.