1. What is an e-scooter?
According to the official VicRoads definition, an e-scooter is a vehicle with a footboard set between front and back wheels, steered by handlebars and powered by an electric motor.
2. How fast do they go?
E-scooters can have a top speed of 100kmh or more, but in Victoria they are not permitted to travel faster than 10kmh – about twice as fast as a brisk walking pace – when ridden in public areas. The government has indicated it is considering raising the speed limit to 20kmh.
3. Can they be ridden on the road, footpath or bike paths?
In Victoria, e-scooters with a top speed of 10kmh and motor of 200 watts or less is considered a ‘wheeled recreational device’ and can be ridden on footpaths, shared paths, bike paths, in parks (unless a ‘no wheeled recreational devices’ sign prohibits it) and on roads with a speed limit of 50kmh or below. They cannot be ridden in bike lanes.
Public transport and roads minister Ben Carroll has indicated that participants in the upcoming e-scooter hire trial will be allowed to travel at 20kmh on bike paths, local roads and shared paths, but that private e-scooters that don’t meet current speed and power limits will still be banned.
4. Do I need a licence to ride one?
5. Do I need to be a certain age to ride one?
Currently people of any age can ride, but the government has indicated it is considering imposing a minimum age limit of 18 years.
6. What safety gear do I need?
By law, e-scooter riders must wear an Australian Standards-approved bicycle helmet. RACV also recommends wearing additional safety equipment such as knee and elbow pads. The e-scooter must have at least one effective brake and a bell or horn. If riding in the dark, the scooter must have a white light at the front and a red light and red reflector at the back.
7. Are they safe?
Like other forms of active transport including bikes, there are risks to using e-scooters, but riders can minimise the risks by sticking to the speed limit, slowing down in high-pedestrian areas, being aware and mindful of other road and footpath users, and wearing helmets and other safety gear.
8. What road rules apply when riding an e-scooter?
Under current Victorian road rules, if your e-scooter cannot travel faster than 10kmh on level ground and has a motor of 200 watts or less, you can ride it in the public spaces described above. You must follow the same road rules as a pedestrian, including keeping left when on a footpath.
In Victoria, a scooter powered by a petrol motor, or one that is faster or more powerful than 200 watts, cannot be legally used in any public area including roads and footpaths. The fine for doing so is $826. More powerful or faster e-scooters can only be used legally on private property.
The government has indicated that e-scooter hire trial participants will be allowed to travel at 20kmh on bike paths, local roads and shared paths, but that private e-scooters that don”t meet current legal requirements will be banned.
9. How do our rules compare with other states?
In Queensland e-scooters can be used on footpaths and some streets at 25kmh, and in the ACT at 15kmh on footpaths and 25kmh on shared/bike paths. Western Australian and Tasmanian rules roughly mirror Victoria’s. In New South Wales it’s illegal to ride e-scooters on roads and footpaths, also in South Australia and the Northern Territory, with the exception of council-run trials.
10. How far can they travel before recharging?
The range for different e-scooters varies between models, from as little as 10 kilometres to as much as 110 kilometres between charges.
11. Can I buy my own e-scooter?
Yes you can. E-scooters can be bought at many bike or scooter shops or online, and range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Most are too fast or powerful to be ridden legally outside private property, but they can still be legally sold in Victoria.