Calls for e-scooter laws to change as people flout the rules and police turn a blind eye


December 14, 2019 18:08:51

Pressure is mounting on state government’s around the country to change laws regulating e-scooters as more and more commuters use them to beat congestion.

Key points

  • Most states and territories have strict rules around e-scooters and limit speeds to 10kph
  • The RACV recently surveyed more than 1400 Victorians and found almost 80 per cent would consider using an e-scooter
  • The National Transport Commission is considering submissions on potential national e-scooter laws but a final report is not due for a year

The RACV is calling for a national change to how e-scooters are regulated to allow them to travel up to 25kph on roads and shared pathways, and 10kph on footpaths.

Current state laws:

  • E-scooters in Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory, ACT can have a maximum power output of 200 watts and cannot have the capacity to travel faster than 10kph if ridden on a road or footpath
  • Queenslanders are allowed a little more speed and can travel up to 25kph, but must stay on the footpath, except for local streets with a speed limit of 50kph or less
  • In Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales you can only ride an e-scooter on private property
  • South Australia is currently trialling e-scooters but only in the CBD

The calls come after an RACV survey of more than 1400 Victorians found almost 80 per cent would consider using an e-scooter and almost 60 per cent would use one instead of a car.

The National Transport Commission is currently considering submissions on potential national laws to cover e-scooters. Individual states can then decide which rules they want to adopt.

But the final report is not due for another year and the RACV wants to see new national regulations introduced as soon as possible.

RACV senior transport manager Peter Kartsidimas said e-scooters were fast and reliable and while there was “no silver bullet”, e-scooters could help combat crippling congestion in Australia’s capital cities.

“Let’s get things going. Most people want these scooters, let’s get some national, consistent rules in the next few months,” he said.

Laws already being broken

Many riders are already anticipating a law change and say even police are turning a blind eye.

Michelle Mannering co-founded the e-scooter start-up Raine with two others in Melbourne last year.

The 29-year-old sold her car shortly after buying her first e-scooter because it was so much faster and easier to use.

“It’s the fastest quickest thing that will take you from A to B around the city. It’s faster than driving a car, faster than public transport, faster than an Uber,” Ms Mannering said.

She was “definitely” anticipating a law change and said almost everyone on an e-scooter flouted the rules anyway.

“The law is really dumb. Mobility scooters go faster than 10kph and 200 watts is an arbitrary number. Every single e-scooter on the market has more power than that. A hairdryer can have 2500 watts. Watts doesn’t equal speed.”

Police officers were also turning a blind eye, she said.

“I ride past multiple cops per day and they don’t care. I’m sure if I was running down pedestrians or was on my phone they would but they have better things to worry about.”

Ms Mannering said e-scooters were a “cleaner, greener, and safer option” than cars but agreed there were safety features on scooters that should be made mandatory.

She said ensuring e-scooters had strong lights and better brakes would fix most of the issues people were having with the device.

Moreland City Council mayor Lambros Tapinos said the council supported relaxed laws and wanted to trial a shared e-scooter scheme.

“People are buying these scooters already so we need to know what the laws are going to be around them,” Cr Tapinos said.

He said Moreland would be a great place for Melbourne to trial share e-scooters and supported speeds being at 25kph.

“I think at the moment 10kph is a bit wobbly, it’s safer to do a higher speed.”














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