Concerns over unique mode of transport in Darwin

Are these unicycles, often spotted in Darwin CBD, a safe or legal mode of transport? We look into the unique issue.

BALANCING (seemingly) precariously upon an electric unicycle some city workers have been showing a real need for speed racing down Darwin footpaths and main roads alike.

But just how safe is it to be haring down city roads and paths on one wheel, not just for the rider but for pedestrians as well? And is it even legal?

In a Darwin where neuron scooters and bikes are around every street corner it comes as no surprise to many that more personal modes of transport are making their way onto the streets.

But there is growing concern over the noticeable speed difference between the commonplace orange scooters and electric unicycles.

One city worker, who didn’t want to be named, said he saw a man riding an electric unicycle down the hill along Garramilla Bvd recently, coming from the city.

“There were several cars in front of him to start with, that all left together when the lights changed (at the McMinn St intersection),” the witness said. “So they (the cars) were probably all doing at least 60 or 70km/h, but by the bottom of the hill he had flown past them all and left them in his dust.

“I can’t see how those things can be legal on the roads, or more especially, the footpaths.” A Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics spokesperson said that electric unicycles required registration to be used on public streets.

“This type of device, along with powered skateboards and electric scooters are considered Personal Mobile Devices (PMD),” the spokesperson said. “PMDs are available in the Australian market and are finding their way on to streets and into public places across the country.

“PMDs fall within the definition of a Motor Vehicle under the current NT Traffic Act 1987 and, as such, require registration or an exemption to be able to be used on public streets or public places.

“The current offence available is driving an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle, with a Traffic Infringement penalty of $1500.”

However, while legal to use if registered, it hasn’t quelled the concern of some city dwellers, worried about an accident on either the roads, or a footpath.

“If he (the Garramilla Bvd rider) hit a leaf on the road, or one of the raised white line markers, or a chip packet or something, and came off, there’d be nothing left of the rider but mincemeat in a bag of skin,” the witness said.

“And, similarly, if he hit someone on the footpath at even half that speed that day, any pedestrian would end up dead or severely injured, surely.”


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