E-bikes have pedestrians pumped up

Reports of e-bike near-misses and reckless riding on the Lower North Shore are rapidly rising, with food delivery drivers on footpaths appearing to be the main issue.

Neutral Bay resident John Kouvelis contacted North Shore Living as he was very concerned for his safety, particularly along Military Road. “It is taking your life in your hands walking from the Oaks Hotel down to Neutral Bay junction,” Mr Kouvelis said. “Food delivery bikes are the main offenders, but increasingly there are other whizzbang electric vehicles infesting the footpaths.

“There have been many close calls and I have witnessed several accidents in the last couple of years.”

While it is only legal to ride bicycles and e-bikes on footpaths up to the age of 16, Mr Kouvelis said some riders argued when questioned. “Especially where the shared bike path ends. They just belt on down as far as Mosman.”

Transport for NSW regulations state that delivery drivers must dismount their e-bike it they need to use the footpath to access a food retailer or delivery point.

A spokesperson for North Sydney Council said that residents had raised concerns about the disruption caused by e-bikes being used on footpaths.

In Willoughby, residents have also voiced safety concerns regarding e-bikes and pedestrians, particularly in CBD areas such as Chatswood, a council spokesperson said.

However, Mosman Council said that it had no record of complaints about e-bike safety over the past year.

One thing all three councils agreed on is the limited power council rangers had when it came to enforcing e-bike regulations, as this falls under the jurisdiction of NSW Police.

In Willoughby, rangers are proactive when they see e-bike riders using footpaths for delivering goods, a spokesperson said. “They will typically instruct the rider to dismount or use the road. Council encourages anyone witnessing illegal use of an e-bike to report the matter to police.”

A spokesperson for North Sydney said it ‘assists enforcement by building infrastructure and cycleways to minimise pedestrian, cyclist and traffic congestion’.

“We are in the process of delivering a connected bike network that will address this issue (by) providing safe, separated connections for cyclists with fewer overlaps with pedestrians.”