A reaction test to weed out drunk or drug-affected e-scooter riders will be rolled out this summer in an effort to avoid a repeat of the "anti-social" riding behaviour recorded during Summernats early this year.
E-scooter usage in the ACT typically spikes by between 20-30 per cent during the summer months and this is also when the two Singaporean companies offering "shared mobility platforms" in the ACT, Neuron and Beam, experience the greatest amount of rider abuse and potential e-scooter misuse.
In January this year, Beam Mobility banned 72 riders over the Summernats weekend as riders swerved and raced on the streets, loaded them up with beer keg seats, shredded tyres and even performed burnouts over the cherished "rainbow roundabout" in Braddon.
Over the past 12 months, there have been 106 bans and nine suspensions imposed on riders by the two "shared mobility" platforms, Beam and Neuron.
Riders who also are reported for dangerous riding, tandem riding, riding without a helmet or dump an e-scooter in a dangerous place can also incur a "strike" on their record. There have been 308 strikes recorded in the past 12 months.
After three "strikes", a rider can be either banned or suspended.
One in five injured riders treated by Canberra Health Services are rated as "clinically intoxicated".
The ACT and Western Australia have the highest shared e-scooter use per capita in the country. Between its two providers, Canberra has 1800 e-scooters from which the ACT government earns $1 a day per e-scooter in revenue.
Beam - the purple e-scooter provider - introduced its so-called cognitive test for alcohol when it began its two-year contract in the Darwin market on November 1 and said it would introduce the same function for the upcoming Summernats.
The "rider check" test requires users to tap on either the left or right side of two images on the screen to determine if they are sober enough to ride, and prevents them from accessing their Beam app temporarily if they fail the test three times.
Neuron - the orange provider - says its in-app cognitive reaction test promotes "self reflection" and helps riders assess whether they are capable of riding.
The one-minute test presents a series of traffic signs and gives a rider a certain amount of time to react. A poor reaction time generates an "are you alright?" message while a good reaction earns a rider a $1 credit.
E-scooter injuries were a contentious and largely low-recorded health issue in the ACT until a local orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Igor Policinski, conducted his own research which found hundreds of Canberra riders were injured every year. Oddly, ACT Health hasn't sought to develop its own fulsome records of the issue.
Scraping through various databases, the surgeon found injuries were dominated by wrist, upper arm and shoulder fractures, sprains and dislocations, with hips, legs and ankles less so. But there were also major dental rebuilds, fractured skulls and the like.
Both e-scooter providers are promoting summer safety messages as they gear up for a profitable season ahead with e-scooter rider trips expected to exceed the 265,500 recorded in the first quarter of this year.
Beam will be rolling out its "catch the breeze, not a brew" safety campaign and will be increasing the number of its patrol officers around the city and inner suburbs. Neuron will promote its Festive Scootsafe program.
To prevent black scooter tyre strips up and down Canberra's footpaths and roundabouts last summer, new anti-burnout technology has been built into the e-scooter electronics which prevent rear-wheel spin-up.
Some of the new tech which is being trialled is "anti-topple technology" and Beam's "pedestrian shield", which automatically reduces speeds in shared areas.