Is it legal to ride an Electric Scooter in Australia in my State?
We answer this very common question below.
We have consolidated all e-scooter laws in Australia and broken them down state by state into a do’s and dont's of Electric Scooter riding so you know if you can legally ride an Electric Scooter in your state on a public road in Australia!
There’s no doubt electric scooters can provide the perfect independent commuting option, and can double as a great leisurely off-road companion. Electric Scooters are a cost effective & environmentally friendly form of transport but, like anything new, regulations can take some time to catch up.
During the last financial year, Scooter Hut continued to experience a rapid increase and appetite from consumers purchasing electric scooters. With the largest range, scooter service centres nationwide and an ever expanding retail footprint, Scooter Hut experienced continued growth at a rate of 100% year on year!
(Data: FY 2020/2021 vs FY 2021/2022)
The following article will highlight what you can and can’t do with your e-scooter in each state in Australia. There are some tips and tricks to staying on the right side of the law when riding your electric scooter which we discuss in this article and we outline the current e-scooter legislation, state by state in Australia.
We encourage you to have your say on everyday commuting/ recreational use of Electric Scooters.
Please encourage your local councils as well as state and federal politicians with feedback on why these modes of transport should be included in ALL future planning!
Without further ado - Let the battle of the state’s commence:
New South Wales E Scooter Laws
New South Wales electric scooter laws are a little draconian but progress is being made. E Scooter trials are in progress in New South Wales, however, at the time of writing it is illegal to ride an e scooter anywhere except for private property.
For the most up to date information about electric scooter laws in NSW you should refer to Transport NSW.
Electric Scooters Allowed on Busway Buses in New South Wales
As of 1 October 2023, Electric Scooters are allowed to be taken onto any Busways bus in New South Wales, read more about these new e-scooter rules on Busways buses. This is welcome progress.
Queensland E Scooter Laws
Don’t we love a bit of rivalry! The sunshine state delivers once again, the current legislation in Queensland allows you to legally ride electric scooters in public so long as they are:
- Designed for use by a single person only and fit the following dimensions:
- 1,250mm in length by 700mm in width by 1,350mm in height
- 700mm in length by 1,250mm in width by 1,350mm in height
- Have a maximum speed of 25km/h
- Have a maximum weight of 60kg—when not carrying a person or load
- Be powered by an electric motor
- Have 1 or more wheels
- Have a braking system
- Have no sharp protrusions
Here are some tips to staying safe whilst riding an e scooter in Queensland -
- Wear protective gear including a new/ undropped helmet
- Wear long sleeves and jeans, and for added protection Kevlar or Padded jackets and pants.
ACT E Scooter LawsYou can legally ride an e-scooter in ACT / Canberra as long as you:
- Wear a helmet - You must wear an approved safety helmet while riding an e-scooter.
- Abide by the speed limit - The speed limit for e-scooters while riding on a shared path or bike path is 25km/h, 15km/h for footpaths and you must slow down to 10km/h when using a crossing. Please ride more slowly around others.
- Don't drive under the influence - Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous and illegal. Catch public transport, call a lift or walk home.
- One person per scooter - Only one person is allowed on an e-scooter at any time. No doubling up, and no taking passengers.
- Supervise children - Children under the age of 12 must not ride an e-scooter without adult supervision (check the operator’s terms and conditions for age limits for shared e-scooters).
- Use the path - You must not ride on the road unless there is no path, or it is not practical to use the path.
Our conclusion: Ideal for e scooter enthusiasts and those looking to get about the city with convenience and independence.
Victoria E Scooter Laws - New Laws from 5 April 2023
In Victoria, effective from 5 April 2023 under Victoria's E-Scooter trial, you can legally ride your e scooter if:
1. you ride on shared-use paths and roads up to and including 60km/h
2. you’re over 16 years
3. you wear a helmet
4. you don’t ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
5. you ride up to a maximum speed to 20km/h
6. you’re not using your mobile phone or carrying a passenger (dinking)
7. it’s not a high-speed e-scooter – capable of more than 25km/h (this is considered an unregistered vehicle and penalties apply)
8. and never on footpaths.
** Image from Vic Roads.
All riders of trial e-scooters must be under 0.05 BAC (irrespective of the type of motor vehicle licence you may hold or whether you hold a licence at all) and to zero presence for prescribed drugs.
The trial will be bound by the regulations set out by the Victorian Government which will be enforced by Victoria Police. The trial complements the National Transport Commission’s review into the safe use of personal mobility devices, including subsequent amendments to the Australian Road Rules.
Significant data will be gathered during the 12-month trial to understand how the vehicles could be safely incorporated into the transport network longer term.
Our conclusion: Great progress with e Scooters in Victoria!
Western Australia E Scooter LawsOn the 16th December 2021, Western Australia updated their laws surrounding the use of e-scooters.
Recreational riders will need to abide by:
Compliant e-scooters can only be legally ridden on low speed WA public roads and paths if their maximum power output is no more than 200 watts and they cannot travel more than 10 km/h on level ground. Many e-scooters on the market are non-compliant and have motors that exceed 200 watts and can travel at speeds much faster than 10 km/h.
- Riders are permitted on footpaths and shared paths, so long as the rider keeps left and gives way to pedestrians also using the paths;
- Riders must wear a helmet;
- Riders cannot ride on roads with a speed limit exceeding 50km/h;
- Riders cannot ride on roads with a dividing line or median strip;
- Riders cannot ride on one-way roads with more than one marked lane; and
- Riders cannot ride during the hours of darkness.
You’d be hard pressed to find a compliant scooter for WA, however they are on the right track to refining the laws in place.
One notable mention is that most scooters come equipped with better lights than most bicycle riders equip to their road bikes. We hope the after dark measures are looked at (within reason) along with the power output and maximum speed – both of these safety measures are a little strict and you’d find manual, push scooters zooming past you at dusk and dawn.
South Australia E Scooter Laws(New laws needed)
‘No’ is the resounding word used by South Australia’s transport legislation.
Can I ride a motorised wheeled recreational device on a road, footpath or bike track?
No. These devices cannot be used on roads or road related areas such as foot paths, bike/pedestrian tracks, or vehicle parking areas. Under South Australian legislation, these devices are considered to be motor vehicles. Operating a motor vehicle requires a driver’s licence, registration and compulsory third party insurance. As these devices do not meet the safety standards under the Australian Design Rules they are not eligible for registration.
Power assisted wheeled recreational devices advertised as toys? Can they be used on a road, footpath or bike track?
No. Many power-assisted wheeled recreational devices available for purchase online or through retail stores are often sold as toys, depicting children riding them. Regardless of the power output of the motor fitted to the device, they cannot be used on roads or road related areas such as footpaths, bike/pedestrian tracks, or vehicle parking areas.
Where can I ride a motorised wheeled recreational device?
These devices can only be used on private property. Failure to comply could result in fines for driving unregistered and uninsured and in some instances for not holding the appropriate driver’s licence.
However in saying the above, it seems SA are starting to change their tune much like NSW mentioned above. They have “invited e-scooters and share bikes back to the city”
The City of Adelaide has provided two e-scooter operators with a trial permit and one bike share operator a permit to operate within defined areas of the City and North Adelaide.
The e-scooters, operated in Adelaide by Beam and Neuron, are unlocked using a smartphone app and are fitted with GPS tracking so that users and the operator can easily find them.
The only e-scooters allowed to be used in the trial areas are those operating subject to a business permit issued by the relevant local city council. For more information about each trial, please refer to above detail.
Riders must comply with the following:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must wear an approved bike helmet that is securely fitted
- May ride on footpaths and shared paths unless otherwise prohibited
- May ride on a road only when crossing or to avoid an obstruction for up to 50m. If road travel is required, riders:
- Must travel less than 50m along the road to avoid the obstruction;
- Must keep as far to the left as possible; and
- Must obey any traffic signals.
- Must NOT ride on a road:
- with a dividing line or median strip, or
- where the speed limit is greater than 50 km/h
- which is one-way with more than 1 marked lane if otherwise prohibited
- Must not ride in a bike lane or bus lane
- Must use a warning (e.g. bell, horn or verbal) to avert danger
- Must have proper control at all times and ride with due care and reasonable consideration for other persons
- Must use a flashing or steady white light at the front and a flashing red light and reflector at the back of the device when riding at night or in hazardous conditions
- Must not exceed 15km/h or a lesser speed if required in the circumstances to stop safely to avert danger
- Must not ride abreast
- Must not carry passengers
- Must not have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.05 or more or the presence of THC (Cannabis), Methylamphetamine (Speed) or MDMA (Ecstasy) in their blood or oral saliva
- Must not use a mobile phone whilst riding
- Must not carry scooters on public transport.
Our conclusion: Do not use publicly, fines apply. Only ride in trial settings, laws should be refined to compensate first and last km of travel i.e. take on public transport if needed after commuting to the station.
Tasmania E Scooter Laws(Personal Mobility Devices)
Some good news for one of the Southern states, Electric Scooters are legal for private use in Tasmania.
Electric scooter legislation passed Parliament unanimously: Michael Ferguson, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
New rules for personal mobility devices (PMDs) commenced on 1 December 2021 to allow PMD's, which includes e-scooters, to be used on footpaths, shared paths, bicycle paths and some roads in Tasmania.
By Tasmania’s description, a compliant PMD is a small electrically powered device designed to transport one person over short to medium distances.
A device is a PMD if it is electrically powered and:
- Has at least one wheel
- Is less than 125cm long, 70cm wide and 135cm high
- Is less than 45kg
- Is not capable of traveling faster than 25km/h
- Is designed for use by one person.
Wear a helmet
The definition of a PMD aims to include a variety of micro-mobility technologies such as e-scooters, e-skateboards, self-balancing hoverboards and one-wheel devices.
These devices will be restricted to a speed of 15km/h on footpaths, and 25km/h on shared paths, bicycle paths and local roads.
Councils will have the power to restrict footpaths that should not be shared and to add divided local roads to the network on a case-by-case basis.
Anyone 16 years of age or older will be able to use an e-scooter as long as they wear a helmet and comply with all of the road rules, including speed limits and don’t use mobile phones whilst riding.
Great news for exploring Tasmania on an e-scooter!
Northern Territory E Scooter Laws
Top of town, but not front of mind it seems.
The Northern Territory is currently only allowing electric scooters to be ridden in geo-fenced locations around Darwin with strict processes in place.
The geo-fenced scooters will max out at 15km/h with further restrictions in designated ‘slow zones’ in place.
Further safety precautions are as follows:
- Riders must be 18 years old and above.
- E-scooters can only be ridden on the pavement, and low-speed roads with a speed limit less than 50km/h and no dividing line.
- E-scooters cannot be ridden on on-road bicycle lanes.
- Only one rider is allowed per e-scooter, and no tandem riding with children.
- Wearing a helmet is mandatory, there is one on every e-scooter.
- Maintain a safe distance between riders and pedestrians.
- Give way to pedestrians and mobility devices (such as wheelchairs) at all times.
- Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or any other substance.
- Park responsibly, don't obstruct access areas, don’t park too close to a junction.
Conclusion: Whilst currently the only way to commute is in specific locations, NT are on the right track when it comes to implementing these long term.
States that have succeeded in their electric scooter trials have similar rules in place to restrict the rider to a certain speed limit, weight and size of Electric Scooter.
Safety precautions are also in place to protect the rider such as wearing a helmet. The compliance of the helmet is not yet explained at the granular level perhaps needed. But any bicycle rated helmet should keep the rider safe and fine-free in QLD, TAS and ACT.
VIC, SA and the NT are currently trailing the best way to implement the use of E-Scooters into society whereas NSW is severely falling behind.
Although WA are on a positive path for e-scooter riders, further refinement of electric scooter legislation is definitely needed, some of the laws imposed are very strict and provide little benefit to the commuter.
To stay updated please visit your states transport website and consult local authorities.
If you want to help change legislation please write to the states transport minister, urging them to take positive action.