Is it legal to ride an electric scooter in your state or territory? A state by state guide to local laws
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT’s electric scooter laws state that all electric scooters “do not meet minimum Australian design standards for safety.” All though the law is unclear on electric scooters, it could be interpreted to mean all motorised devices meaning they cannot be used in any public areas such as footpaths, car parks and parks. Sanctions can be issued for riding unregistered motorised vehicle in the ACT.1
UPDATE: The ACT Government is in the process of legalising e-scooters. The expectation is that the new laws will be in place by December 2019.19
New South Wales road rules currently stipulate that “powered foot scooters…cannot be registered and can only be used on private land.”3 As such, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter anywhere in New South Wales, other than on private property.
However, users should be aware that Lime recently trialled 300 electric bikes in Sydney, which could travel at up to 24km/h.4 Thus, it is possible that an e-scooter trial could follow. If this occurs, e-scooter laws in New South Wales might be revised like they have been in Brisbane.
New South Wales
In the Northern Territory, a motorised scooter is defined as any “kick-type scooter that is equipped with an engine or motor.” All electric scooters are considered to be motor vehicles under Northern Territory law, and as such must be registered to be used on roads or in other public places.5
Brisbane was the first Australian city to trial electric Lime scooters. During this ongoing trial, e-scooters can travel at a maximum speed of 25km/h, and can only be used on footpaths – not on roads or in cycle lanes. Additionally, riders must wear an approved helmet 6.
In other parts of Queensland, where Lime scooters are not in trial, electric scooter laws vary.
According to the Queensland Government website, an Personal Mobility Devices or electric scooter must have “Must be powered by an electric motor have a maximum speed of 25km/h.” Further, electric scooter riders must wear a helmet.10
These rules were adjusted in Brisbane for the Lime scooter trial, but still apply throughout the rest of Queensland, and have now been updated to include most personal electric vehicles.
In South Australia, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter on the road, footpath, bicycle track, or anywhere other than private property. Under South Australian law, electric scooters are considered motor vehicles, with the relevant law explaining “operating a motor vehicle requires a driver’s licence, registration and compulsory third party insurance. As these devices [electric scooters] do not meet the safety standards under the Australian Design Rules they are not eligible for registration.11”
Despite this, Lime will trial 500 electric scooters in Adelaide’s CBD during February and March 2019. To ride these scooters, users must wear a helmet and cannot exceed 15km/h. Users must also be over the age of 18. Additionally, the scooters can only be used on footpaths or shared pathways, and must not be used on multi-lane roads, or any road with a speed limit of more than 50km/h.12 During the trial, the e-scooters will be fitted with a GPS device which will automatically disable the scooter if it is taken outside of Adelaide’s CBD.13
Electric scooters are legal in Tasmania, with conditions. A motorised scooter cannot travel faster than 10km/h in Tasmania, and must have a power output of no more than 200 watts.14
If these stipulations are not met, the electric scooter is deemed to be a motor vehicle. However, electric scooters cannot be registered as motor vehicles in Tasmania as they fail to meet the minimum safety requirements. As such, any e-scooter that has a power output of more than 200 watts can only be used on private property in Tasmania.14
Victorian law stipulates that a motorised scooter cannot travel faster than 10km/h. Additionally, a motorised scooter must have a maximum power output of 200 watts or less. Electric scooters that do not meet these stipulations can be used on private property, but not in public.15
If an electric scooter fails to meet these requirements, it is classified as a motor vehicle. If classified as a motor vehicle, the electric scooter must be registered, and the rider must have a valid motorcycle license.15
Lime recently held electric scooter trials in Melbourne at Monash University, so it is possible that further trials will be conducted in Victoria in the future.17
If so, it is possible that e-scooter laws in Victoria could be revised like they have been in Brisbane. Prior to the Lime scooter trial in Brisbane, electric scooters could only travel at 10km/h, however this was changed to 25km/h during the trial.
Currently, Western Australian laws stipulate that electric scooters must travel at 10km/h or less, and “must not be used on footpaths and paths designed for shared use by pedestrians and bicycles.” Any unlicensed electric scooters may only be used on private property.17
Lime is currently planning to trial their e-scooters in Perth. For this proposed trial, Lime has applied for an exemption to raise the speed limit for electric scooters from 10km/h to 15km/h in Perth.18