30th Sep 2021
Australian Laws for Riding Electric Scooters
Electric scooters are growing in popularity in Australia as more people ditch cars and public transport for this more eco friendly form of transport. Whether it’s for the daily commute or for recreational riding, more and more Australians are escaping the traffic jams and enjoying the freedom that this transport revolution offers. Unfortunately, the use of electric personal mobility devices is still not legal in every state of Australia and the use in those states can carry heavy fines and penalties. However, there is a big push happening right now for the federal government to implement laws for these devices across all of Australia. You can head over and sign the petition at www.electricriders.org.au In the meantime, to help you stay on the right side of the law, we will take a look at the current regulations state by state.
Queensland has laws allowing the use of electric rideables in public spaces and road related areas. To be considered legal in QLD a rideable must
- be designed for use by a single person only
- 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.
For safe riding in QLD you must:
- be at least 16 years of age, or 12 with adult supervision
- wear an approved bicycle helmet, that is securely fitted, at all times
- not carry passengers
- not use a mobile device
- not drink and ride
- have a working flashing or steady white light on the front, and a red light and reflector at the rear when travelling at night or in hazardous conditions.
When riding on a path in QLD you must
- Keep left and give way to pedestrians.
- Travel at a speed that allows you to stop safely to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.
- Travel at a safe distance from a pedestrian so you can avoid a collision.
- Keep left of oncoming bicycles and other personal mobility devices.
- Only use the bicycle side of a shared path.
For full details on laws for electric rideables in QLD visit the link below.
Just like Queensland, the ACT also has laws that allow for the use of electric ridables on Canberra’s roads and road related areas. The ACT Government states that just as if you were driving a car or riding a motorcycle, road rules apply to riding on the road or road related area so be aware and take responsibility!
Here are the rules for using an e-scooter in the ACT
- You must wear an approved bicycle helmet while riding
- You can ride on shared paths, bike paths, the bicycle side of separated paths and footpaths.
- You cannot ride on the road, unless there is no footpath or nature strip available or they are impractical to use.
- You must give way to pedestrians and keep to the left.
- Show courtesy to other path users and ride to the conditions. The speed limit is 15km/h for footpaths and 25 km/h on shared/bike paths. You must slow down to 10km/h when using a crossing, be prepared to stop, keep left and give way to pedestrians. Please ride more slowly around others.
- You must not be impaired by alcohol or drugs, operate mobile devices or carry any passengers.
- Children under the age of 12 must be supervised by an adult.
For full details on the laws in the ACT, click the link below.
Looks like the fun stops at the ACT and QLD as the rest of the states of Australia do not have laws that allow the reasonable use of any electric scooters or similar. Here is the statement from the NSW Centre for Road Safety regarding their use.
- Powered foot scooters and skateboards cannot be registered and can only be used on private land
Next stop is Victoria where it also seems there are no laws that allow for the use of electric scooters other than on private property. See the following info from Vic Roads.
If your motorised scooter:
- has an electric motor with a maximum power greater than 200 watts
- has a maximum speed greater than 10 km/h
then it cannot be legally used on a road or any road related areas, including footpaths, share paths and public areas. The fine for an illegal device is $826. Other penalties may also apply. https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/scooters-and-wheeled-recreational-devices
The apple isle has similar law to VIC not allowing scooters with motor output greater than 200W (which is really no current models on the market) and the rules below must be followed.
- The riders of motorised scooters will in future be required to wear an approved bicycle helmet; and as with other wheeled recreational devices
- can be used on paths and roads where the speed limit is 50 km/h or less but cannot be used on roads with dividing lines or median strips
- must keep to the left on roads and paths and must not be ridden two abreast
- must not be used on the road at night except if crossing by the shortest route, for
- example at an intersection, although they can be used on paths at night
- must give way to walkers and be ridden with due care and attention
As we travel around to South Australia, the laws look pretty grim for anyone wanting to use an electric scooter to get around. The following statement is from the South Australian Dept of Infrastructure and Transport.
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.
Heading over to the west coast, the laws in WA reflect what we see in the other states. Nothing over 200W or 10 km/h is permitted. Read below for the WA Department of Transports rules for electric scooters.
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.
Full details of WA’s laws are linked below.
Last stop on the national tour of electric scooter laws is the Northern Territory. Whether you reside in Darwin or the red centre, looks like you are subjest to the same restrictions found in VIC, SA, TAS and WA. Here is the official statement from the Northern Territory Government Dept of Transport.
A motorised foot scooter is typically a wheeled recreation device equipped with an engine or motorof some description.
Motorised scooters with a power output greater than 200 watts are defined as motor vehicles in theNT Motor Vehicles Act. As motor vehicles, motorised scooters used on roads, or in public places,need to be registered and ridden by licensed riders. However, motorised scooters are notdesigned or manufactured to comply with registration requirements and national safety standardsfor road vehicles, such as Australian Design Rules (ADRs). Therefore, they cannot be grantedregistration for on-road use and may not be ridden on public roads or places open tothe public (including footpaths, bike paths, carparks, etc.
In summary, the laws around Australia currently are not very electric scooter friendly with the exception of Queensland and ACT.
If you are reading this chances are that you really want to ride an electric scooter legally but reside within a state which does not allow it.
That’s why now is a great time to head over to www.electricriders.org.au and sign the petition so that we might one day soon see uniform laws across the country allowing all Australians to escape the gridlock and reduce emissions. All while having fun doing it on an electric scooter.