Is it illegal to ride an electric scooter in Australia?
Yes and no—let’s break it down state by state.
New South Wales
It’s currently illegal to use an electric scooter in NSW unless you’re on private land, as per the NSW Centre for Road Safety. However NSW’s strict stance on electric scooters may soon be a thing of the past, as The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that an e-scooter trial could be hitting several council areas soon.
Australian Capital Territory
According to the ACT Government’s FAQs, it’s illegal to use electric scooters on roads or road-related areas in the ACT. But a community consultation project around e-scooter regulation is currently in progress, so legislation and road rules are likely to change in the future.
According to VicRoads, electric scooters are legal in that state if they have the same features as a foot scooter, don’t have the capacity to go faster than 10km/h, and can be propelled by an electric motor with a maximum power output of 200 watts or less. The fine for riding an illegal device is a hefty $826.
It’s currently illegal to use electric scooters in SA, unless you’re on private property or in the Adelaide CBD where there’s a trial underway. You must be 18 years of age to participate and may not exceed 15km/h on an e-scooter, or leave the zone of the Adelaide City Council where the trial is limited to. Just be aware that according to InDaily, the trial is set to conclude on October 13th of 2019 and there’s been no word from the local council or government as to whether e-scooter use will continue after this date.
E-scooters have not been legalised in the NT, but the City of Darwin announced earlier this year that a 12 month trial of e-scooters in the city council area would begin as early as August 2019— although further announcements of when the trial will commence don’t appear to be available online.
According to the only information we could find from the WA Government, low powered scooters may only be used on private property. However, there’s currently a Lime Scooter trial happening in the Perth CBD which, according to Perth Now, has seen hundreds of riders cautioned for using the scooters while under the influence of alcohol.
Queensland has some of the most relaxed rules in the country. According to the government’s webpage on foot scooters, those with a small electric motor (200 watts or under) and a maximum speed of 10km/h are subject to the same road rules are regular scooters and skateboards. You can also use rideables with a maximum speed of 25km/h, but check out the specific road rules for personal mobility devices on the government’s information page.
You can currently use e-scooters in Tassie if the motor has a maximum power output of 200 watts or less, the power output is visibly certified on the motor, and the scooter can’t go faster than 10km/h. But according to The Examiner, e-scooters that fall outside of this scope may be available soon, as the local government is aware of trials and changes to legislation on the mainland.
This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here is suitable to your situation before purchasing or using an electric scooter.