Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Anne Lucey

An attempt to bring in a Parisian style ban on e-scooters from greenways in Kerry on the grounds of safety has failed. The City of light recently voted overwhelmingly to ban rental e-scooters in many areas after hundreds of accidents and a number of fatalities in 2022.

However, a similar attempt on Kerry greenways was defeated during a council vote.

The State’s network of greenways are reserved exclusively for non-motorised vehicles, but national guidelines are awaited, a council meeting heard.

New guidelines on the county’s Kerry’s two greenways have been brought in amid concern that national guidelines on greenways were taking too long to prepare.

E-scooters were travelling at sometimes 30 kms an hour in Tralee and there had been at least one serious accident recently in which an elderly lady was knocked down and broke her hip, Cllr Johnny Wall said. Mr Wall who replaced Ed Minister Norma Foley on the council had tracked an e-scooterist and found them travelling at 30 kms an hour.

The silent mode of transport posed a danger on the greenways, he said. “E-scooters are silent and fast and you can’t hear them. It’s very important to regulate them and the only way you can do it on greenways is to ban them,” Councillor Wall said.

He supported a motion by Fine Gael councillor Jim Finucane who said greenways were places of peace and tranquility and people expected to feel safe and secure on them. A message needed to be sent out, he said moving a proposal to ban the e-scooters from greenways in Kerry.

“We don’t want people concerned about dangerous speeds,” Cllr Finucane said. National guidelines are long awaited on both greenways and e-scooters the meeting was told.

However, Indpendent Councillor Jackie Healy-Rae strongly opposed the motion. If e-scooters were banned, “then you would have no choice only to ban all other forms of bicycles, E-Bikes etc,” he said.

“A fit person on a racing bike which are allowed on the Greenways can easily reach speeds of between 30/50KM/H and if they hit somebody will do just as much if not more damage to a person or child if they hit someone, Cllr Healy-Rae said.

“Similarly with e-bikes, we have cargo e-Bikes travelling these greenways that carry children in the front of them that can hit 30Km/h and yet there seems to be no issue with them,” he added.

The move to ban e-scooters was defeated with 15 councillors voting against and nine for the proposal by Cllr Finucane.

Kerry now has two greenways along old railway lines in the north of the county, with work on the South Kerry currently greenway underway.

Dog fouling was already a problem and the new guidelines stipulate all pets “mus” be on a lead and owners must clean up after their dogs.

A motorised ban extends to quadbikes and motorbikes as well as cars in Kerry and barbecues and camping are also not allowed.

The Department of Transport has been asked for comment.

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