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RACV welcomes new e-bike share scheme in Melbourne
Melbourne set to host 12-month trial of Jump by Uber e-bike share scheme.
RACV has welcomed a new electric bike-share scheme, set to be rolled out across inner Melbourne next month, as a convenient and sustainable alternative to help people move around the city.
The municipalities of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip have agreed to a 12-month trial of the Jump e-bike share scheme, owned and operated by a subsidiary of ride-share company Uber. (More: Six questions to ask before buying an electric bike)
The first 400 bright-red e-bikes will be deployed across the City of Melbourne in March, with more to be rolled out across inner northern and southern suburbs after that.
The e-bikes, which can be booked via the Uber app, will have a top speed of 25kmh and will come with helmets and built-in cable locks so they can be secured to bike hoops. Riders must be 18 years or older.
Fees are still being finalised, but it is likely users will pay $1 to unlock the e-bikes and then 30 cents per minute of use.
The e-bikes will be maintained and serviced by Good Cycles, a local social enterprise that works with young people experiencing disadvantage.
In order to avoid the same fate as the oBike scheme, which was abandoned in mid-2018 amid a storm of complaints about dumped and abandoned bikes, Jump will establish a 24-hour complaint line and will be required to remove dumped or damaged bikes within a set timeframe. Users leaving the bikes in unapproved locations will be sent a notification via the Uber app, and will be fined if they fail to move the bike. Jump bikes have already been rolled out in 30 cities including Los Angeles, Auckland, London and Paris.
RACV hopes that the scheme will be embraced here and that people will consider using the e-bikes as a convenient, sustainable and fun way of getting around Melbourne. (Plus: RACV's Melbourne cycling superhighways revealed)
“Jump launching in Melbourne is great news,” says RACV’s senior manager mobility futures, Stuart Outhred. “We’re excited to see how an e-bike share scheme can help make Melbourne a more accessible city. The collaborative effort shown by local councils here is positive, but we are continuing to call on the state government to step up and invest in cycling infrastructure to keep riders safe and help share schemes have a chance at success.”
He also stresses that it is important for those using e-bikes to understand and follow the road rules. “Basically, if you can’t do it on a pushbike, you can’t do it on an e-bike.”
Here are the rules you need to know before you ride an e-bike:
Protect your head
As with regular bicycles, e-bike riders must wear an approved helmet, securely tightened and fastened.
Riding on footpaths
As those riding Jump bikes must be over 18, they are not permitted to ride on the footpath. General bicycle laws apply to all e-bikes, prohibiting anyone over the age of 13 riding on the footpath unless accompanying and supervising a child 13 years or younger.
Off-road bike path or road
Like regular cyclists, e-bike riders can choose to ride on the road or an off-road bike path. Recreational and less experienced riders often feel safer using off-road paths while more experienced or commuter riders travelling at faster speeds often prefer to use the road.
Riding on roads
When riding on the road, riders must use a dedicated bike lane where possible, unless it is impractical to do so, such as when it’s blocked by a parked car.
The Jump e-bikes have a top speed of 25kmh, but all e-bikes must stick to the speed limit on the road, on-road bike lanes and off-road shared paths.
If there’s one seat, it’s only legal for one person to ride.
Riding on freeways
Although there are no freeways in the Jump e-bike trial areas, people using private e-bikes are not allowed on urban freeways. However, they can ride on some rural freeways on the shoulder or the area to the left of the road which can be sealed or unsealed. These rural freeways include the Western, Calder and Hume freeways and parts of the Princes Freeway to Traralgon.
Obeying road rules
Most road rules also apply to cyclists and e-bike riders including obeying traffic lights and staying within the speed limit. Fines and other penalties apply to those who break the rules.
In case of an accident
Riders involved in a crash are required to give their details, and those of the owner of the bicycle, to any person who has been injured or the owner of any property that has been damaged.
E-bike riders can ride two abreast and up to 1.5 metres apart and a third e-bike rider can legally overtake the pair. There is no law on how many cyclists can ride behind each other.
E-bike riders can legally pass a car on the left unless the car is turning left and indicating.
Lights and reflectors are required at night or in conditions of reduced visibility. Lights must be visible from at least 200 metres away. Bike riders need a flashing or steady white light at the front, a flashing or steady red rear light and a red reflector clearly visible at the back of the bike from 50 metres away.