But Australian authorities have been caught out by imported e-scooters being sold here, despite a lack of uniform laws between states and territories.
The National Transport Commission is calling for public submissions on the issue in mid-October but, for now, it is illegal to ride the most commonly available e-scooters on Victoria’s roads or footpaths.
E-scooters may be ridden on footpaths and shared paths only if they have a top speed of 10kmh, about double the speed of a brisk walking pace, and have a power output of 200 watts.
No e-scooters may be ridden on roads, regardless of their power output. Riding a non-compliant scooter anywhere other than on private property can incur a fine.
RACV’s senior manager transport, planning and infrastructure Peter Kartsidimas says e-scooters have the potential to become a useful part of the transport network, for example getting commuters to public transport or travelling short distances across cities.
Melbourne is an ideal city for micromobility with an even topography, a network of low-speed roads and good cycling infrastructure.
But he warns that many people are buying e-scooters that do not meet the current legal requirements. “There are concerns about safety and we need appropriate laws and infrastructure for e-scooters, but this is an opportunity we should cautiously explore,” he says.
“RACV hasn’t got a predetermined position on e-scooters so we are asking the Victorian public to express their opinion on the opportunities and potential risk they pose, through an online survey.”
One of the world’s leading e-scooter sharing schemes, Lime, has been trialling the scheme – which is similar to bike sharing – in Brisbane, and is eyeing markets in Melbourne and Sydney.
“Melbourne is an ideal city for micromobility with an even topography, a network of low-speed roads and good cycling infrastructure,” says Lime’s director of government affairs, Mitchell Price.
He says the company is negotiating with all Australian states and territories to change regulations to allow for widespread e-scooter use.