WON­DER WHEELS

Seg­ways on trial in Air­lie Beach

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

LO­CALS and vis­i­tors to the re­gion will now be able to ride a Segway-style per­sonal mo­bil­ity de­vice in and around Air­lie Beach.

Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil has ap­proved a trial of the ma­chines for the next six months.

Three lo­cal busi­ness oper­a­tors, each op­er­at­ing 10 Segway-style ma­chines, have been given the green light to con­duct tours via foot­paths, cy­cle ways, fore­shores and board­walks.

Mayor Jennifer Whit­ney said this was on the pro­viso that “there is har­mony be­tween these ma­chines and our pedes­trian traf­fic”.

It wasn’t all smooth sail­ing for the three ap­pli­cants to gain ap­proval with Coun­cil ex­press­ing some safety con­cerns and only ap­prov­ing the six month trial at this stage.

Last month, coun­cil­lors also re­solved that if three or more in­ci­dents or ac­ci­dents oc­curred, the trial oper­a­tion would cease.

Fun Rentals owner Iyas Sha­heen, who is one of the oper­a­tors run­ning the tours, said the ap­pli­ca­tion to Coun­cil was made af­ter the Queens­land Govern­ment le­galised Segway-style de­vices in Au­gust last year.

He said get­ting the ap­provals had been a long process but one he was pleased to see re­solved.

In or­der to min­imise any risks Mr Sha­heen opted for smaller de­vices that weigh about 80kg, equiv­a­lent to the weight of a push bike.

“They’re smaller, less ob­tru­sive on the side­walk, less in­tim­i­dat­ing to a pedes­trian and eas­ier to han­dle,” he said.

Fun Rentals have now started con­duct­ing daily morn­ing and af­ter­noon tours show­cas­ing Air­lie Beach, Cannonvale and the fore­shore.

Mr Sha­heen said the feed­back so far had been great.

“They’re great fun, we haven’t had any in­ci­dents and ev­ery­body seems to have a re­ally pos­i­tive re­ac­tion to them,” he said.

“Plus the town needed more land­based ac­tiv­i­ties for tourists – we give them plenty to do on the wa­ter but they needed more here.”

Cr Whit­ney said Segway tours had proved ex­tremely pop­u­lar over­seas and she hoped they could be en­joyed safely and add a unique new tourism ex­pe­ri­ence for vis­i­tors to Air­lie Beach for years to come.

“Segway tours will be a fan­tas­tic new tourism prod­uct for the lo­cal area and an­other way to en­joy our beau­ti­ful fore­shore,” she said.

MOV­ING ON: Ger­man tourists Felix Beck­mann and Pian Karhs (far left and cen­tre), joined Fun Rentals owner Iyas Sha­heen (cen­tre right) and No­mads staff Te­gan Dunn and Emily Peters, for a Segway tour to Port of Air­lie on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.