Electric scooters have grown significantly in the Australian urban landscape because of its convenience. Whilst it is a fun and efficient way to get around, riders should be aware of the electric scooter laws in Australia. As with other countries, Australia is having to ensure standards and requirements are clear so that riders can ride safely in public. The electric scooter Australian laws govern aspects including electric scooter registration, road rules , safety requirements and speed limits. These rules are not all uniform across the country, and are in a state of flux, so it can be difficult to keep up!
So, what is the law on electric scooters, specifically in Australia? And which rules are consistent across the country? As a general rule, riders must be at least 16 years old to ride an electric scooter. Meanwhile, riders at the age of 12 to 15 must be accompanied by adults. Moreover, electric scooters should always give way to pedestrians.
Besides these, here are more insights into the laws that you should keep in mind whether you’re a new or long-time electric scooter rider.
The maximum allowable speed
The general maximum speed limit is 25 kph, but certain states limit electric scooters to 10 kph. So, be aware of the allowable speeds in your area, especially when riding outside your state.
For example, in Victoria, Northern Territory, and Western Australia, the speed limit is 10 kph using a 200 W power when riding. Meanwhile, in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, you can ride up to 25 kph. However, in ACT, there’s a 15 kph speed limit when riding on footpaths.
Many electric scooter brands actually provide speeds of more than 25 kph. However, riders must be responsible enough to only go over the speed limit on off-road tracks or under a controlled environment. After all, the speed limit is there to ensure your safety and others.
Legal areas to ride
Unfortunately, electric scooters are only permitted to be ridden in certain areas in Australia. All electric scooters can be ridden legally on private property. However, some states only allow electric scooters on footpaths and bicycle tracks, while a few do not allow it in public roads and spaces.
For example, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads says that electric scooters are only allowed to be ridden on paths. Electric scooters can’t be ridden on a road and even in on-road bike lanes unless you need to cross the street or avoid obstructions on footpaths. Riders should also stay on bike lanes when there are paths available for pedestrians and bicycles.
On the other hand, it’s illegal to ride electric scooters anywhere outside of private property in New South Wales and South Australia.
Australian states where electric scooters are illegal on public land
Electric scooters and the law in Australia can be quite complicated because riders can only legally ride them in approved areas and certain states. Riders should then remember that it’s still illegal to ride electric scooters in the states of New South Wales and South Australia.
According to the New South Wales Road Rules, rule 240(2)(C) states that “a person must travel in or on a wheeled recreational device… on a road at any time while any person travelling in or on the device is wholly or partly assisted in propelling the device by means other than human power.”
According to the spokesperson for the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), “Motorised or electric scooters do not comply with vehicle safety standards and are not exempt from registration and therefore must not be used on a road or road-related area.” The spokesperson also adds that regulations can change if the TfNSW sees that electric scooters don’t pose a risk to its riders and pedestrians. As the law currently stands, illegally using an electric scooter could cost you a fine of $78.
Meanwhile, South Australia is another state that does not allow electric scooters on the road. The South Australian law considers electric scooters as motor vehicles which require a driver’s license, registration, and insurance. Electric scooters that don’t meet the Australian Design Rules safety standards are not eligible for registration.
However, a trial on electric scooter ride-sharing units has been permitted in Adelaide. If you’re caught riding an e-scooter that’s not approved for the trial, you will be fined a fee of $1232 for driving an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle.
Electric scooter safety and requirements
To improve safety, riders are required to wear proper gear. For one, riders are required to wear an approved helmet. When riding at night in Queensland, you must have working lights and reflectors.
It’s also worth noting that states and territories such as South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia need a driver’s license to ride an e-scooter. However, in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and Victoria, riders must first undergo training and pass the motorised scooter test before being able to ride an e-scooter.
Before you ride or buy an electric scooter, take note and remember all these electric scooter laws in Australia to keep yourself safe when riding and avoid getting penalized. After all, these laws are here to help riders be safe and enjoy the ride.