PURPLE electric scooters will be rolled out to key locations in Lake Macquarie as a 12-month trial along selected routes begins.
Lake Macquarie will be the first council area in the state to welcome shared "e-scooters", with the trial to begin on Monday, December 5, for use on "four tracks only".
The e-scooters will be deployed to shared pathways at the Croudace Bay, Warners Bay and Toronto foreshores, and the Lake Macquarie end of the Fernleigh Track.
Minister for Active Transport Rob Stokes said the NSW Government had worked closely with Lake Macquarie's economic development company, Dantia, and e-scooter provider, Beam, to ensure the trial would benefit the community and "put safety first".
"E-scooters offer an exciting new mode of mobility, but we're making haste slowly to learn how we can safely integrate them onto our roads and shared paths," Mr Stokes said.
"Trials like this one in Lake Macquarie are incredibly important in learning how we can achieve that.
"Riders will be permitted to travel along selected shared paths while wearing a helmet and keeping within the speed limits.
"E-scooters will not be permitted on the road or footpath in Lake Macquarie and importantly, Beam e-scooters are fitted with technology that 'geo-fences' the device to only be able to operate within the trial routes."
Dantia chief Joshua Sattler said initially, the e-scooters would be restricted to 10 kilometres per hour on those existing ride-share networks only.
"This is pretty much an extension of what we've done with the e-bikes, just with a new device, the e-scooters," he said. "But for the e-scooters we have five separate locations - none of which intertwine or connect, so they're sort of quarantined across the whole area of Lake Macquarie.
"But the intention is, hopefully by the end of the trial, that these things actually connect up more broadly across the region."
Mr Sattler said they would take a "slow, phased approach" to the rollout. He "knows" they will be successful after his work rolling them out nationally in the past four years in places like Darwin.
"I think the next iteration, and when we can get them to the point where they're on footpaths and going past shops, will be a really important evolution. There were numbers released recently that each scooter contributes up to $70,000 a year into the local economy. So these little devices, which are quite experiential to begin with, are putting a considerable amount of money back into the tills of small business, and that's where we're hoping that the trial will go in Lake Macquarie."
There are now 5000 users of the purple e-bikes who have travelled close to 100,000 kilometres.
Beam will deploy the e-scooters which have "high precision geofencing" and GPS to ensure riders remain inside the approved e-scooter operational zones.
The shared devices will be accessible via the Beam app, with pay-as-you-go rates, incentivised fixed parking, and an in-app and in person safety school for rider and community education.
A three-month trial of shared e-scooters at Western Sydney Parklands and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan saw 4000 trips recorded with no safety incidents.
The trial will limit shared scheme e-scooters to riders aged 16 and above.