Special technology could block users of Canberra's e-scooter rental scheme from parking near waterways in an attempt to prevent vandals dumping them in Lake Burley Griffin.
Beam Mobility and Neuron Mobility have secured permits to operate the scooters in Canberra as part of a deal with the ACT government. Each company will have 750 e-scooters available for hire.
Both companies have the ability to monitor where e-scooters are at all times and geofencing technology would ensure users were staying within a permitted area. If users rode out of areas the technology would immobilise the e-scooters. This could also be used if a vehicle was damaged.
"Once an e-scooter is immobilised, it is effectively locked and temporarily rendered unusuable," Neuron Mobility chief executive Zachary Wang said.
Beam Mobility vice president of corporate affairs Christopher Hilton said the company used geofencing in Auckland to prevent users from parking near the water during night. He said this approach could be adopted in Canberra.
"The vehicles are 25 kilograms so if you want to dump it in a lake you probably want it really close... a little thing like that is a disincentive for people to do it," he said.
"It's really bad for business every time we lose a vehicle and it goes into the water. It's bad for the community and that's not the type of thing they want to see."
Geofencing technology could also be used to set speed limits in certain zones.
"Our team partners closely with councils and relevant local authorities to implement geofencing technology to create slow zones, no-go zone [and] no parking zones," Mr Wang said.
"When a rider enters a no-go zone, the e-scooter will give an audio warning and will slowly come to a stop."
The locations of the e-scooters are still being determined but would be likely to include the city, inner north, inner south and at least one other region.
Both companies also employ various safety strategies. Helmets would be available with each scooter.
Mr Hilton said first-time users would be taken through a safety demonstration and be required to take a quiz on the Beam app.
"They have to go through specific training such as how to step on the scooter and how to ride it," he said.
"[There is] a safety quiz on the app that tests users on if they know the rules of the road and how to use a vehicle safely."
Mr Wang said Neuron's scooters had a 000 emergency button that could tell if users had a fall. He said voice guidance would educate and warn drivers on how to ride safely. As well, users would have the ability to share their trip with family and friends in real time.
Mr Hilton said Beam would provide virtual docking, meaning a GPS would direct a user to an appropriate parking place rather than a physical docking station.
E-scooters were legalised in the ACT in December. Scooters can only be ridden on shared paths and footpaths. They would not be allowed on roads unless it's a residential street without a footpath.
The speed limit is 15km/h on footpaths and 25km/h in other permitted locations. Users must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
The rental scheme is expected to start next month.