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Demand for micro-mobility has surged within the last few years as the race to go green continues. Micro-mobility refers to small, lightweight vehicles such as bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters. The benefits are that these devices do not need fuel to function, are a form of active transport and are environmentally friendly. But that is not to say there has been no controversy surrounding their use in Australia.
In February 2022, Victoria Police recorded 38 e-scooter offences over a two-day blitz. The main offences were riding on the footpath, not wearing a helmet and not following traffic instructions such as stopping at red lights.
Earlier this year, an elderly woman was injured in Melbourne when two young e-scooter riders crashed into her on a footpath. In another incident, one young boy lost his life and another was seriously injured when they collided with a car in Western Australia.
Royal Perth Hospital also revealed new data showing a 500% surge in people needing serious medical treatment due to e-scooter crashes in the past three years.
While some Australians may already be well accustomed to e-scooters, not all states have legalised this form of transport. So, what are the current laws in each state?
In New South Wales, laws allowing privately owned e-scooters to be ridden outside of private property have not yet been passed. While South Australia and the Northern Territory do not allow private e-scooters to be ridden in public, they are currently trialling shared e-scooters. In other states and territories, e-scooters have generally been received with a moderate amount of enthusiasm.
E-scooter riders, similar to cyclists, must follow the rules outlined in each of their states. Rules such as wearing a helmet and one person per scooter are exercised in all states.
Below are some of the key rules on e-scooters in each state (excluding NSW):
Beam Mobility, one of the leading e-scooter providers in Australia, recently announced their new Pedestrian Shield technology which gives cities more control over e-scooters. Using AI technology and an onboard camera, the e-scooters will be able to identity what surface the rider is traveling on and automatically reduce speeds to align with the legal speed limit in each state.
The environmental benefits of e-scooters are apparent, yet it is agreeable that there must be more widespread safety messaging as well as appropriate infrastructure for riders to protect themselves and other road users while riding.
For a more detailed list of rules and the most up-to-date information, regularly check your local government website.
[Information in this article is accurate as of 12th April 2022]
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