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Australian Laws for Electric Scooters - The do’s and don’ts of e-scooter riding in YOUR state!

Australian Laws for Electric Scooters - The do’s and don’ts of e-scooter riding in YOUR state!

Posted by Adrian Fowler on 28th Jun 2022



Is it legal to ride an Electric Scooter in my State?

We answer this very common question below.

We have consolidated all e-scooter laws from around the country and broken them down state by state into a do’s and don’ts of Electric Scooter riding!


There’s no doubt electric scooters can provide the perfect independent commuting option, and can double as a great leisurely off-road companion.
However there are some tips and tricks to staying on the right side of the law within this article.

In order to have the most satisfaction after purchasing we outline the current e-scooter legislation, state by state.

During the last financial year, Scooter Hut continued to experience a rapid increase and appetite from consumers purchasing electric scooters. With the largest range, 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)


Current rider laws and legislation for e-scooters can be a little tricky to navigate, outdated and draconian across some states – our aim is to change that, but we need your help!

The following article will highlight what you can and can’t do with your e-scooter in each state.

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 – (a little draconian, let’s get this changed!)

We hear the stories of riders being fined by local police for riding an un-registered and un-insured vehicle on public roads.
The problem is - Electric Scooters do not currently allow for either of the above and nor should it.
The law states -
“Powered foot scooters and skateboards cannot be registered and can only be used on private land”

https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/pedestrians/skateboardsfootscootersandrollerblades/index.html
Case in point: an interview with Rahul (of Sydney) on A Current Affair.
Raul was excited by his recent purchase; he couldn’t wait to get started. Raul explained “I am a law-abiding citizen... I purchased a helmet that was compliant as well”.
Little did Rahul know that NSW aptly named the nanny state doesn’t allow the use of motorised vehicles of any type in public.
The frustration felt across NSW started when the trials that were set in the past never came to fruition. A trial was set for the start of 2021, then Transport Minister Andrew Constance said he was “not in the mood”.
Fortunately, a lot has changed since the new government took over, with the current Transport Minister Rob Stokes changing the tune: "e-scooters are an affordable, convenient and sustainable method of moving about and it's important we harness that and recognise their increasing popularity around the world in a safe way," Mr Stokes said.

Following on from this, the NSW Government posted an ingest meme/ gif of a dog riding a scooter with the caption: “Me on my way to the NSW e-scooter trial”
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=5056559031099053&extid=NS-UNK-UNK-UNK-IOS_GK0T-GK1C&ref=sharing
Although fines have been handed our and little clarity provided, it seems the government is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Interestingly a reminder of legislation was posted on the The Hills Police Facebook page..
https://www.facebook.com/TheHillsPAC/photos/a.552936394768215/5076894675705675/
They didn’t expected the barrage of complaints from their audience insisting it was about time they were legal.
Adriana Tusnea: “Time to change the laws then...”
Andrew Lunnon: “They’re a great idea. They should be legal. We just need simple, clear rules on where, when and how fast they should be used”
The Hills Police decided to pin their comment in response to all the complaints they were not yet legal: “Like Gelblasters/replica firearms- we don’t make the rules. Just letting you know what is legal and if you cause an accident or injury there may be consequences.”
Time to have your say!


Our conclusion: Trials need to come to fruition and legislation needs to change, its obvious... the people have spoken.
4/10




Queensland – (Great role model for the rest of the country, others take note!)

Don’t we love a bit of rivalry!
The sunshine state delivers once again – why not have fun? After all that’s what life is all about.
Current legislation allows the use of 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

We agree that legislation should be continually analysed and refined to meet the current statistics and findings.
We appreciate the news stories that are published, however often is the case that data is skewed in the pursuit of a dramatic headline.
Scooter riding, or riding of any sort does come with its risks, as does walking across the road or playing team sport.

To present the data found -
Queensland admitted 58,727 people to hospital for sport or recreational activity related injury between the years of 2016-2020 (Jamison Trauma Institute) https://metronorth.health.qld.gov.au/jamieson-trauma-institute/qti-0921

Of those, the leading cause admitted were people playing team ball sports with over 18,606 (more than 32%)
A recent article published by the ABC (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-22/electric-e-scooter-e-bike-injuries-brisbane-emergency-department/100313526) spoke of hundreds being admitted to hospital for scooter related injuries with the bulk being from hired scooters. The comparison is minuscule and hard to quantify.
More should be said about the hired scooter element and perhaps people are trying things that they aren’t quite yet confident in? One thing we preach at Scooter Hut is respecting the vehicles you find yourself on. The same could be said about motorcycle riders, downhill mountain bikers or any other recreational activity with a multitude of variables.
Here are some tips to staying safe whilst riding -
Wear protective gear including a new/ undropped helmet
Wear long sleeves and jeans, and for added protection Kevlar or Padded jackets and pants.


Our conclusion: The most refined and pleasant state to have fun and enjoy all that electric scooters offer.
10/10

Photo: Adrian Fowler/ Scooter Hut



ACT
– (Another Class Thinker)

ACT, much like QLD have safety protocols in place for safely riding your e-scooter -
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.
https://www.transport.act.gov.au/travel-options/e-scooters/e-scooter-rules

Our conclusion: Ideal for scooter enthusiasts and those looking to get about the city with convenience and independence.
10/10




Victoria (Very cautious trial underway)

The trial will allow people to hire e-scooters and ride them on bicycle lanes, shared paths and lower speed roads (up to 50km/h).
E-scooters will be geofenced by each commercial operator and are not to be ridden on footpaths as part of the trial.
Private e-scooters will continue to be prohibited on public roads and road related areas.

The minimum age to ride an e-scooter in the trial is 18 years. You don’t need a licence, but if you do have one, including a learner’s permit, it can be cancelled or suspended if drink or drug driving restrictions are breached and heavy fines can be imposed.

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.

Data: https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-safety-programs/e-scooter-trials-in-victoria
One Melbournian took it upon himself three years ago to alleviate congestion one commuter at a time by riding to Uni every day despite knowing it was illegal to do so.
Declan commutes to Melbourne University as he was fed up with Victoria’s “ridiculous” ban on privately owned electric scooters.
“It got to a point where I thought, this is so stupid, I’m just going to ride one,” said Declan – who asked that his last name not be published (SMH)
“You look at other states, or you look around the world where people are serious about action on climate change, e-scooters are the first thing – green transport is such a big deal.”
Declan insists riding his scooter saves him 15 minutes getting to and from work comparing to the public transport network. He also avoids 3 short car trips per week by commuting on an EV.
Source: Electric scooters are everywhere in Melbourne, but many are still illegal (smh.com.au)


Our conclusion: Wait and see, the trial ends February 2023.
6/10

Photo: Shaun Williams/ Scooter Hut


Western Australia


On 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.


Our conclusion:
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.
5/10



South Australia (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.

https://mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/riding_motorised_scooters


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.
5/10


Photo: Shaun Williams/ Scooter Hut



Tasmania
(Personal Mobility Devices)
Some good news for one of the Southern states -
Electric scooter legislation passes Parliament unanimously: Michael Ferguson, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
New rules for personal mobility devices (PMDs) commenced on 1 December 2021 to allow PMDs 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 travelling 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.
Source: https://www.premier.tas.gov.au/site_resources_2015/additional_releases/electric_scooter_legislation_passes_parliament_unanimously

https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/road_safety_and_rules/personal_mobility_devices


Our conclusion:
Great news for exploring Tasmania!
10/10




Northern Territory

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 processers 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.
7/10




Summary:
States that have succeeded in their trials have similar rules in place to restrict the rider to a certain speed limit, weight and size of the 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 trialing the best way to implement the use of E-Scooters into society whereas NSW is severely falling behind.

Although WA are on the path to an enjoyable experience, further refining of the 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.

- Adrian Fowler

Picture: Shaun Williams/ Scooter Hut