The Future of Electric Scooter Laws in Australia
| Gerald Fisher
Electric scooters are becoming more and more popular every day in Australia (and throughout the rest of the world, for that matter), offering a new way to zip around city streets – as well as a brand-new way to commute back and forth to work.
The Australian government has noticed this increase in popularity and has recently introduced some new rules, regulations, and laws outlining how electric scooters can and cannot be used on Australian roads.
To the delight of many, these rules, regulations, and laws are a lot less restrictive than most anticipated!
On top of that, local councils have given a lot of leeway to determine and dictate how electric scooters are used on their own streets.
While this makes for a bit of a confusing standard when you are going from one city to another on an electric scooter, ideally these things will be ironed out in the near future, and a more cohesive and harmonious set of rules for electric scooters use will be put in play.
To give you a better idea of the current (as of October 2019) lay of the land when it comes to electric scooter laws (and what these laws might look like in the near future) we’ve put together this quick guide!
What Does the Future Look Like for Electric Scooters?
As we highlighted above, the future could not be any brighter for electric scooter technology and for Australians looking to take advantage of this new mode of transportation.
Brisbane was the first Australian city to really quantify and spell out how these new vehicles could and could not be used throughout the city with the introduction of a Lime scooters trial in 2018.
The only real stipulations put forward by this local government was that the scooters had to be ridden on pavements (and not in bicycle lanes or on roadways shared with traditional motor vehicles), and that individual riders had to wear helmets while doing so.
This initial trial was extended into 2019, and though there have been some expected bumps in the road along the way, it looks like the trial is going to be extended even further – ideally by five years or more going forward.
Electric Scooter Trial Programs in Australia
The Brisbane Lime scooters trials are the most commonly cited electric scooter trial program in all of Australia, but that’s really only because they are the most recent.
Trials have also been conducted in Queensland, allowing electric scooters with a maximum speed of 10 km/h (and electric motors no more powerful than 200 W) to cruise up and down city streets with no restrictions.
Victoria has similar rules to Queensland without the same restrictions on hardware, giving individual scooter owners the opportunity to pilot these vehicles along city streets and pavements so long as they have first secured a motorbike license and have invested in scooter registration with local authorities.
New South Wales has rules and regulations dictating how electric scooters can be used that are very similar to those already implemented in the United Kingdom.
The scooters are allowed to be operated on private land without any restrictions whatsoever for right now, but many expect and anticipate that the new electronic bicycle trials in Sydney are going to allow for electric scooter trials to commence pretty soon – potentially changing everything in the process.
Cities That Have Conducted Trials
We already touched on the fact that Brisbane was the first Australian city to begin conducting electric scooter trials, but they certainly aren’t the only one.
Trials are beginning in Adelaide (CBD), Melbourne (St Kilda), Perth (CBD), and Sydney – and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Electric scooter and transportation experts believe that more than 30 cities and communities in Australia could soon be trialing these kinds of scooters before the end of 2022.
While there has been some reticence and some hesitation on Australian cities to really embrace everything that electric scooters have to offer up until just recently, more and more local municipalities are jumping on board and embracing everything that these new modes of transportation have to offer.
What Were the Results of Electric Scooter Trials
The Lime trials in Brisbane are the only trials that have been conducted over a significant enough stretch of time to have any real measurable data available for study, and as of right now, the general consensus is that this trial was successful – which is why it has been extended through the rest of 2019.
Yes, there have been a couple of accidents during this trial period of time that have some naysayers trying to slam the brakes on everything that Brisbane is looking to do. However, it seems as though local politicians and lawmakers are more interested in collecting even more data which only bodes well for this kind of trial to be conducted all over Australia in the future.
Announced Future e-Scooter Projects in Australia
Lime is conducting new trials for their electronic scooters in Perth as well as trialing 500 electric scooters in Adelaide’s CBD throughout 2019 as well.
Sydney is poised to begin electronic scooter trials in the coming months, with many escooter sharing companies vying for the councils' contracts. Although there has yet to be a formal announcement in this area, it seems to be only a matter of time until this kind of electric scooter project will take off in one of Australia’s largest and most metropolitan urban communities.