What you need to know about e-scooters
Victorians will soon have a chance to hire e-scooters, but are they safe and what are the rules for riding them?
E-scooters look set to become more common on Victoria’s streets as the government plans to trial e-scooter hire schemes in selected areas around the state.
The government has called for expressions of interest from private operators to run the trials in three local government areas, including two metropolitan and one regional council.
The trials, which will run for up to a year, will help inform whether any road rules need to be adjusted to accommodate the growing interest in e-scooters.
RACV has welcomed the trials as an important step in making e-scooters more readily available as an affordable, convenient and low-emissions alternative form of transport.
RACV’s senior manager transport, planning and infrastructure, Peter Kartsidimas, says using an e-scooter to get around has many benefits. “They are often a cheaper and more reliable form of transport that is better for the environment and less likely to get stuck in traffic.”
He says the upcoming trial will give the government an opportunity to examine what will encourage the take-up of e-scooters, as well as how to keep riders safe.
“We know from a survey we conducted at the end of 2019 that almost 80 per cent of Victorians would consider using an e-scooter and almost 60 per cent would use one instead of a car,” says Peter.
“In 2020, we saw many Victorians consider alternative mobility options as a way to explore and connect with their local communities. Now many people are looking to integrate these mobility options in their day-to-day lives.”
E-scooters are widely used in many cities around the world – including Stockholm, Berlin and Paris, which has around 15,000 e-scooters on its streets.
In Victoria, e-scooters are currently permitted on footpaths and some roads, but must not travel faster than 10kmh and motors must not exceed 200 watts in power. The government has indicated it is looking at increasing the speed limit to 20kmh, but banning anyone under the age of 18 from riding.
Road rules for e-scooters differ significantly between states and territories. For example they may be ridden at up to 25kmh on footpaths and some streets in Queensland, but are banned from roads and footpaths in NSW. RACV has long called for a national approach to personal mobility devices, including e-scooters, to encourage their safe use.
As part of its ongoing support for affordable, low-emissions micro-mobility transport options, RACV’s arevo journey planner app has formed a partnership with Beam Mobility, which operates e-scooter hire schemes in 18 cities including Adelaide, Canberra and Bunbury. If successful in a bid to become part of the e-scooter trial, they will work together to provide education and safety-focused initiatives to Victorians. Beam e-scooters would also be integrated into the arevo real-time journey planner app.
“RACV is committed to providing Victorians with information on and access to the range of transport options that are available,” says RACV general manager arevo mobility, Elizabeth Kim. “By partnering with Beam, arevo by RACV is creating greater awareness of micro-mobility services such as e-scooters and e-bikes, and how they can be used safely for daily transport needs.”