Victoria’s e-scooter FAQs: electric scooter safety and laws explained
While many people have been quick to jump on an e-scooter of late, it’s important to know the rules and regulations for how e-scooters can legally be operated. E-scooters are being used at record-pace across the globe – including Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, and since February of 2022, Melbourne and Ballarat. After the e-scooter trial was launched in Victoria, more than one million rides were clocked up in the first 17 weeks, with the average journey lasting 2.5km. Figures now show that since the e-scooter trial was launched, an average of 8,600 e-scooter trips have been made each day.
As with any new mode of transport or emerging social norm, there can be confusion around the rules, regulations, and adoption of e-scooters. In its efforts to make Victorian roads safe for all modes of transport, RACV has partnered with Lime – an organisation taking part in the Victorian e-scooter trial – and have produced a suite of videos that outline how to ride e-scooters safely.
Are private e-scooters legal?
Private e-scooters can legally be bought and sold in Victoria. However, private e-scooters cannot be ridden in public and are only allowed to be used on private properties. The current limits according to VicRoads states that powered scooters with a capacity exceeding 200 watts (or capable of travelling faster than 10kph) are illegal to ride on public roads. Those caught riding a high-powered privately owned e-scooter on a public road, path, or public area can face fines ranging from $182 to $909.
Where can you ride an e-scooter in Victoria?
As part of the one-year trial, scooters as part of the trial can be used in the City of Melbourne, City of Yarra, City of Port Phillip and Ballarat. All of the approved e-scooters use geo-tagging to ensure that the vehicle does not travel outside of these areas. The geo-fencing, while providing vital user data for the trial, also allows users to locate the nearest available e-scooter.
- Can you ride an e-scooters on the footpath, road, or public walkway?
Only approved e-scooters taking part in the Victorian trial can be ridden on public pathways, including bike lanes, shared paths, and low-speed roads with a limit of 50kph. Since the introduction of the e-scooter trial, the rules have not changed for privately-owned e-scooters and they continue be prohibited on public roads or adjacent areas.
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While you can park your e-scooter on the footpath (as long as it’s in an upright position and not obstructing pedestrian traffic), e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on the footpath. A fine of $182 can be issued to those breaching these rules.
As the e-scooters used in the trial are restricted to 20kph, it’s not safe to operate these in high-speed areas. While riders can use the approved e-scooters on roads with a speed limit of 50kph and below, riders are not permitted on roads with a speed limit of 60kph or higher, even if there is a protected bike lane. E-scooters must also obey the same road rules that applies to motor vehicles and cyclists: give way, obey traffic lights and signs, speed limits, and so on.
E-scooters can be used on shared public paths, but riders must be mindful and stay safe around other pedestrians, cyclists, and obstacles.
Can more than one person ride on an e-scooter?
E-scooters are limited to one rider only. Pillion passengers and pets are not allowed and can result in a fine of $182 for beaches of this rule.
Can you use a mobile phone while riding an e-scooter?
While you may need to use your phone to find an approved e-scooter, your phone must be put away once your journey begins. Fines of $545 can be issued for those using a mobile device while operating an e – scooter.
Do you need a license to ride an e-scooter?
No, the e-scooters as part of the Victorian trial do not require a valid Driver’s License. However, breaches of road rules while operating an e-scooter can impact your holding of a Learner, Probationary or full Victorian Driver’s License.
Do you need to wear a helmet on an e-scooter?
As with any form of motorised transport – safety is always the number-one priority. Helmets must be worn at all times while riding an e-scooter and failing to wear a helmet can result in a $227 fine. While helmets cannot guarantee prevention of injury, helmets should be sized, fitted and secured firmly as per manufacturer instructions to best prevent the chances of injury.
How old do you need to be to use an e-scooter?
To rent an e-scooter, all users must be 18 years of age or older.
Can you drink-and-ride on an e-scooter?
All riders must have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) below 0.05 and not be impaired by legal, or illegal, drugs. Heavy fines and penalties will apply to those breaching the rules. Anyone found to be riding under the influence can lose their driver’s license, be disqualified from obtaining a new license, and may need to complete a behaviour change program before they are able to reapply. Fines, court fees, and disqualification periods vary depending on a range of factors, including BAC level and prior infringements. More severe disqualification periods and fines apply for combined offences.
Are e-scooters safe?
Much like any other forms of motorised transport (including e-bikes), there are risks to using e-scooters. Riders should minimise the risks by sticking to the speed limit, slowing in high-pedestrian areas, being mindful of other road users, and wear appropriate safety equipment, including helmets.
This article first appeared in the Whitehorse Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter, September 2022. Thank you to NHW for allowing us to publish it on our website.
“RACV is committed to providing Victorians with a choice on how they get around – whether that is by car, on a bike, walking, public transport or on an escooter,” said RACV General Manager Mobility Elizabeth Kim. “We want to ensure safety is top of mind for all road users when it comes to e-scooter trials and usage and that’s why we produced these videos available on the arevo by RACV website.” General Manager of Lime Australia & New Zealand, Hugo Burt-Morris, said “We need to ensure that we continue to communicate all of the rules and safety measures around e-scooters, so that Victorians can use this convenient and cleaner form of transport with full confidence.” “Safety and compliance information collected from these trials will help us understand the benefits and risks of e-scooters; including how e-scooters are interacting with other road users and what the optimum rules and regulations should be in the longer term.”