Riders say personal mobility devices (PMDs) free them from long commutes. Opponents say they pose a safety risk with footage from America showing scooters strewn over footpaths.
E-skateboards can go up to 80km/h but most run about 20-40km/h and go 20km on a charge. They can cost thousands but cheaper boards retail for under $400.
Ben Sterrey, of Ben Buckler Boards in Marrickville, said PMDs are illegal to ride – except on private property – but they still sell one to three a day.
"People are spending anywhere from $1000 to $3000 on their electric portable vehicles purely because there's no parking, so much traffic congestion, public transport's not good enough and they want freedom of mobility," he said.
E-scooter speeds, range and costs are similar to e-skateboards. There are also "semi-autonomous, self-balancing" electric scooters that can be remotely driven to a docking station.
Elliot Sen bought his e-scooter after riding one in Brisbane where more than 300,000 people legally use them.
Mr Sen was keen for his first commute from the inner west to Darling Harbour, saving 20 minutes and avoiding packed trams, but his fun lasted 10 minutes before getting slapped with five fines totalling $2550.
"I was riding on the footpath – given that it's either the road or the footpath, that made more sense," he said.
"The fact it was so unnecessarily large, for me it wasn’t a message, it was more like a big 'f**k you'."
Shared e-scooters, unlocked by a smartphone app and usually hired by the minute, have popped into about 100 American cities – as well as major centres in Asia, Europe, Canada and New Zealand.
Almost half of the 1.7 million trips on Lime scooters in Brisbane replaced a car, taxi or Uber, Lime spokesman Mitchell Price said.
Micro-mobility start-ups have raised more than $5.7 billion since 2015. But the injury toll is rising with one fatality reported in Brisbane after a man fell down stairs on a scooter.
A trial of e-scooters in Portland, Oregon found riders made up 5 per cent of traffic crash victims in emergency departments.
"People – especially the elderly, vision impaired and young children, who need safe footpaths for their regular exercise – may stop walking altogether with the increased risks and the fact that the highest cause of avoidable death after 50 is from a fall," Mr Scruby said.
"The reality in this PEV (personal electric vehicle) market both in scooter and skateboard is that if they don't find a way to legalise them, then they will just become stealth," he said.
"We're already seeing e-skateboards on the market that are impossible to tell from a normal skateboard, without tipping it upside down and seeing the on-button."
Mr Vertucci said the police should focus on whether someone is acting dangerously, not whether they were using an e-board.
NSW opposition minister for active transport Jo Haylen said rideables were "a vital part of the transport mix" in cities across the world.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said a "working group" is "considering issues" such as pedestrian safety ahead of a possible e-scooter trial.
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