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They were once a novelty but now e-Scooters have become a common site on paths and streets in cities across Australia.

The recent launch of a 12-month trial in Melbourne and Ballart has seen a surge in people using the electric powered personal transport devices.

But the test-scheme, which kicked off in February this year, prompted an immediate clampdown on rule breakers by police, who issued 38 penalty notices to riders in one day – including jumping red lights and not wearing a helmet.

With the rapid adoption of a new transport technology, it has raised questions about safety and how E-Scooters will coexist with other road users on our congested networks.

So what do you need to know before hopping on an E-Scooters and taking it for a ride?

Are E-Scooters the future of urban transport? 

States around Australia are looking to solve the problem of congested roads and polluting vehicles.

The Victorian government has launched a trial to “understand the benefits and risks associated with this new transport technology and to test if these vehicles can safely fit into the state’s transport network longer term”.

As part of the scheme adults 18 years and over can hire E-Scooters and ride them on bicycle lanes, shared paths and lower speed roads (up to 50km/h) within the participating local government areas.

You don't need a license to ride an E-Scooters, but your license can be cancelled or suspended for misconduct such as drink or drug driving infringements. 

What are the E-Scooter Rules?

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Travel at a safe speed
  • Do not exceed speed limit
  • No passengers
  • Be respectful to other riders and passengers
  • Comply with the rules

 

What E-Scooters offences apply?

The current law governing E-Scooters in Victoria, both privately owned and ones for commercial hire, appears to be the Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic) and the amendments introduced by the Road Safety Road Rules Amendment (Electric Scooter Trial) Rules 2021 (Vic).

This includes any relevant fines and penalties. Currently, regulations are enforced by Victoria Police.

It is important to get up to speed with the rules before heading out – below are some E-Scooters specific offences.

Offence

Penalty

Amount

Ride on a road or road related area that is not in an electric scooter use area (i.e. not a participating LGA)  

 

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Ride a high-powered electric scooter that is not part of a commercially operated share scheme* 

 

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Ride electric scooter on a footpath 

 

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Ride electric scooter on a road with a speed-limit greater than 50 km per hour

 

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Ride electric scooter alongside another rider or pedestrian travelling on the road or road related area in the same direction (i.e. must ride single file, or 1 abreast only)

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Ride electric scooter if under 18 years of age 

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Exceed speed limit on electric scooter (i.e. 20km/h max) 

 

1.25 penalty units  

 

$227.00

Carry any other person on electric scooter 

 

1 penalty unit 

 

$182.00

Consume intoxicating liquor while riding electronic scooter 

1.25 penalty units  

 

$227.00

What happens if I’m injured or hurt someone else?

A key area of concern, especially when sharing a road or path with other vulnerable users, such as pedestrians or cyclists, is what happens if you are involved in an accident?

Neuron, one company involved in the E-Scooters trial in Victoria, recently introduced third-party insurance to riders.

This ‘extended cover will complement our existing AUD $20 million public liability insurance, along with the company’s personal accident insurance”, according to the company.

Riders are excluded from cover if they are in breach of local rules, the terms of service or the riding rules – which includes if a rider fails to wear a helmet or is over the alcohol limit.

Injury risks and wearing a helmet

While E-Scooters can be convenient ways of getting around cities, that doesn’t come without risks of injury.

Data collected in 18-months to May 2020 from three emergency departments in Brisbane found total of 797 people went to hospital after being injured on an "electric personal mobility device", including e-bikes, e-skateboards, segways and hoverboards, according to ABC News.

The majority of injuries, 624, were from E-Scooters that had been hired. Importantly, 54% of people in hospital were not wearing a helmet.

E-Scooters are not a toy

E-Scooters might look like a fun way to get around town, but they’re still subject to many of the same rules as cars and other vehicles.

When sharing the roads, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities because the penalties for getting it wrong can be serious – physically, if you’re injured, and legally, if you cause injury to someone else or you’re pulled over by the police. 

Talk to one of our specialist public liability lawyers today

If you've been hurt in a public place, including a sports field, path or in a store, our experienced team can help. 

It doesn't cost you anything to know where you stand 

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