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, shared paths and some roads only if they have a top speed of 10kmh on level ground, about double the speed of a brisk walking pace, and have a power output of no more than 200 watts.
Higher-powered or faster e-scooters must not be ridden on roads or footpaths. 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.
But he warns that many people are buying e-scooters that do not meet the current legal requirements.
Melbourne is an ideal city for micromobility with an even topography, a network of low-speed roads and good cycling infrastructure.
“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 is 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.