Victorians embrace e-scooters, survey reveals

Moving Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 10 December 2019

Survey finds four in five Victorians would ride an e-scooter, despite many being illegal to use on roads and footpaths. 

Victorians are ready to embrace e-scooters despite many models being illegal to ride on roads or footpaths throughout the state, according to an RACV survey.

The survey reveals four out of five people want to ride an e-scooter and they say they would use it for commuting, getting to and from public transport, shopping and just for fun. 

About 80 per cent of the more than 1400 people surveyed say they would ride an e-scooter, with 40 per cent preferring to buy their own e-scooter rather than rent one, while 27 per cent say they would do both.

RACV’s survey comes as the National Transport Commission considers submissions on potential legislation to cover e-scooters. 

Close up of person wearing rolled up chinos and boat shoes riding e-scooter


Stuart Outhred, RACV’s senior planner, says national, uniform and consistent laws are urgently needed because different rules apply depending on the state or territory.

Stuart says RACV’s survey provides an insight into the public’s perception of e-scooters and whether they would use them.

“These results are clear – there’s interest and demand for e-scooters in Victoria,” he says. “Although you can buy them, many can’t be legally ridden in Victoria except on private property under the current rules.”

While it is legal to sell e-scooters in Victoria, they can only be legally ridden on footpaths, shared paths and some roads if they can travel at no more than 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 cannot legally be ridden on roads or footpaths, and riding there can incur an $826 fine.

Given the demand for e-scooters, Stuart says the RACV is calling on the commission to fast-track the introduction of consistent and clear national road rules over the next few months.

RACV’s survey shows people want to use e-scooters to get around, with 73 per cent wanting to use them to get to public transport, 63 per cent to work, 68 per cent for recreation and 62 per cent to go shopping.

There’s no silver bullet for improving transport choice across the community, but an open approach to new ideas like e-scooters should be the starting point.

 

“E-scooters can meet different trip needs for different people,” Stuart says. “There is great potential for them to connect more people to the public transport system, addressing the first/last mile issue many commuters face.

“We should be embracing innovation in the transport sector. There’s no silver bullet for improving transport choice across the community, but an open approach to new ideas like e-scooters should be the starting point.”

About a third of survey respondents say they would use e-scooters to replace car trips, while 39 per cent would use them instead of public transport.

A separate question about why people wouldn’t want to use an e-scooter found 52 per cent didn’t trust other road users and 48 per cent believe the infrastructure isn’t safe enough. 

Almost three-quarters of respondents believe rental e-scooter companies, such as Lime which operates in Brisbane, should be allowed in Victoria.

About 86 per cent of respondents say e-scooters should be used on shared paths or bicycle paths and a similar number believe they should be allowed to use bicycle lanes. 

The majority, 79 per cent, say e-scooters are better for the environment than a car while 70 per cent believe they are a cheap form of transport.

Most respondents believe there should be a legal age for using e-scooters, with 40 per cent opting for over 16 years old and 21 per cent for 18 years old.

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