Ask Your Mates Open Forum

Footpath inspections

  • 1.  Footpath inspections

    Posted 20 May 2019 21:56
    Hello mates,
    The Mornington Peninsula Shire would like to achieve some efficiencies in our path inspections program and have looked at the idea of using mobility scooters or golf carts to undertake this. Advice that we've received is that there are laws with respect to the use of mobility scooters, pushbikes and other vehicles on footpaths which would prevent our Shire from undertaking footpath inspections using these vehicles. Can any other municipalities give us any advice on this, particularly in Victoria? Additionally, any advice on how your municipality undertakes footpath inspections would be appreciated.

    PETER YOUNG | Team Leader - Roads, Drainage & Cleansing Operations
    Mornington Peninsula Shire

  • 2.  RE: Footpath inspections

    Posted 21 May 2019 20:47
    Now that's an interesting question mate. Am looking forward to hearing everyone's experiences with this one. Good stuff.

    Sean Rice
    BE (Civil) MBA (TechMgt) CPEng NER RPEQ FIPWEAQ
    Managing Director
    Proterra Group
    M: 0488 715 700


  • 3.  RE: Footpath inspections

    Posted 22 May 2019 22:50

    Hi Peter

    As Sean has said interesting. Every state jurisdiction has their own nuances in laws in relation to the use of footpaths. My experience is that golf carts would probably get a blanket no from Police however depending on the state jurisdiction mobility scooters and pushbikes could be more realistically considered. I think Victoria has an age limit on cyclists using pedestrian footpaths and think that mobility scooters are the most likely candidate as they regularly access pedestrian areas with adult operators. My general understanding is that they need to be speed limited to max 10kmph.

    Before proceeding I would check with your States Department of Transport and also make sure that you have a suitably designed and authorised Traffic Management Plan in place. You would be making the mobility scooter a mobile workplace for the purpose of the survey. Again, I recommend checking with your States Workcover authority. It is always an option for a Council to actually close the footpath for a period of time to undertake the actual survey. A TMP (or plans) may differentiate between high and low traffic areas.

    Murray Erbs
    Chair NAMS Council | IPWEA Australasia


  • 4.  RE: Footpath inspections

    Posted 22 May 2019 22:50

    Hi Peter,


    I have been looking into the same issue.


    We have a 1600km network and around 80,000 defects.


    Our RMP has a 3 yr full network inspection frequency by Assets and  2 yr for bike trails and 6 mths for the high use paths by my inspectors.


    It was my understanding that it was possible to obtain a permit to use either a mobility scooter or motor bike with top speed less than 50kph and a max speed on the path of 15pkh.


    Our first audit was in 2005 by RapidMap by walking, there wasn't a photo record of the defects.


    In 2009 we did a footpath network inspection using a contractor (now out of business) with a quadbike that was set up with cameras and a tablet It was registered and needed VicRoads approval.


    There weren't any issues/complaints from the public, but the video technology didn't give a consistent image between shade and full sunlight.


    There is still no technology for in motion measuring of individual defects that our insurers expect so the improved mobility isn't that good.


    In 2012 we used RapidMap to do the waling/measuring survey and a bicycle video ( sometimes a wobbly start).

    The 2015 and 2018 audits have been done by RMIT students using iPads, each defect is photographed and a measuring block placed next to the defect. Our Assets team organise batches of students each for 3 months, the network takes 5 -6 months to cover.

    I keep looking for new technologies to improve the surveys but so far nothing new.



    Graham Downie

    Council Website

    Graham Downie
    Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator | Operations

    Operations Centre - Stadium Dr Keilor Park Vic 3042
    T   +61 3 4901 | M   +61 419 531 706 | F  +61 9249 4351 |

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  • 5.  RE: Footpath inspections

    Posted 22 May 2019 22:50
    gooday peter, we inspect our footpaths by foot and besides being great exercise we can see much details of the condition of our assets.
    we have time to document and to take photos of defects and council workers are seen by residents to proactive with footpath maintenance.
    there is many positive points to do your footpaths inspections by walking each section. perhaps you could do just a few roads each week instead of trying to do them all at once? regards, michael.

  • 6.  RE: Footpath inspections

    Posted 27 May 2019 22:01
    Hi Peter,

    We have a 1200km long pathway network. We engage a contractor to carry out condition surveys of our pathway network every 4 years to inform capital renewal programs; they use quad bikes fitted with video cameras and rate the condition of pathway segments on a 1 to 5 scale. We also have internal asset condition inspectors who traverse the pathway network on a regular inspection cycle (3, 6 or 12 months depending on the hierarchy and location of the pathway); they use electric bikes or a 50cc scooter (see photos) and record defects on a mobile device (iPhone or iPad) for referral to a maintenance crew/s for repairs as necessary. The scooter is fully road registered however it can only be used in accordance with a number of conditions specified in a permit issued by Queensland Police - this allows it to be used on pathways and cycle ways (10 km/h maximum speed).


    David Gresik | Principal Asset Strategy Engineer
    Asset Strategy Team | Civil Asset Management Branch
    Built Infrastructure Group | Sunshine Coast Council

    Phone: 07 5475 8887
    Mobile: 0427 357 942
    Mail: Locked Bag 72 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Qld 4560


  • 7.  RE: Footpath inspections

    Posted 28 May 2019 23:14
    ​Hi Peter,

    In a previous life I ran a consultancy that did footpath inspections across Victoria using a variety of machines (quad bikes, bicycles, and tricycles), capturing asset location, images, condition scores and defects. VicRoads have some provisions to allow vehicles / machines on footpaths for maintenance purposes (e.g. weed spraying) and we were able to get a letter of support from them for the operation if we met some conditions. This was about 7 years ago now, but from memory the conditions were that we had to travel at or below walking speed, we had to have a traffic management plan and had to give way to all other path users. The traffic management plan was based around mobile works, with signage on the bike and a flashing light (but no need to place out signage along the path). We also added some signage on the bike to give a positive message around what we were doing (something like "inspecting paths for your safety"), which helped people with accepting that we were there. We had the VicRoads letter with us on the bike at all times in case of questions from the police.

    Regarding what type of vehicle is best, the quad bike was the immediate favourite with most people, but you soon realise that it is big, heavy, noisy, vibrates a lot at low speed, is hot in summer and is fairly intimidating to other path users. The tricycle was the least favourite on first impression with inspectors ("I'm not riding a trike in public!"), but actually ends up being their favourite in most cases as it is a stable, comfortable platform to work from, is quiet and manoeuvrable enough. The tricycle was one of those cargo bikes with two wheels at the front, one at the rear. The bicycle setup was similar, but not as comfortable at low speeds and you have to work to balance. In all cases all equipment was mounted to the vehicle so both hands were always free to operate safely. We had a small custom keypad mounted that plugged into the tablet and let you quickly tap in defect codes as you rode. All of these vehicle options always outperform walking in productivity, mostly because backtracking is way quicker than walking and you don't get as tired as walking (especially with electric assist).

    I've heard of some companies using golf carts for this, but I'd anticipate that these are just too big to be practical on most path networks. I'm sure the electric scooter and mobility scooters would be great options too, but I didn't have a chance to try them myself. I have personally performed quite a bit of footpath inspection on each of the options listed above.

    You need to factor in providing a suitable vehicle to transport this on the road too, for when you are establishing from the depot to the work area and back. Vans are good as they provide shelter for the equipment in poor weather.

    I hope that helps with your choices and good luck getting it going!

    Rishi Viner
    BE(Civil) MIEAust CPEng
    Civil Operations Coordinator | Melton City Council
    P: 9747 7249 | M: 0407 388 579
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