Electric scooter laws in Australia: where you can and can’t ride

Electric scooter laws in Australia - beach
Source: Segway-Ninebot

Electric scooters – or e-scooters – have become an increasingly popular method of transport throughout Australia, particularly where rentals are commonplace in various CBDs. Electric scooter laws differ between states, however, making it tricky to know where you can and can’t ride them.

Queensland, for example, lets you ride e-scooters nearly everywhere, including your own, like the Segway-Ninebot range, provided you follow a few rules. Research has shown this to have a positive impact on Brisbane’s tourism and urban mobility. Contrast this with the likes of New South Wales and South Australia, where you can only use approved rental scooters in specific scenarios. Combine this scattered legislation approach with safety concerns, and you’ve got a recipe for confusion.

One of the reasons people turn to e-scooters is the relatively cheap running cost. Cars and petrol are expensive to run, and public transport may not serve everyone’s needs depending on where you live. E-scooters don’t even require a driver’s licence to ride, although where you can use them differs between states. As people look for alternative and cheaper types of transport, here’s what you need to know about electric scooter laws in Australia.

Electric scooter laws in Australia by state

New South Wales

According to Transport for NSW, personal e-scooters are restricted to private property only. You cannot ride your own e-scooter on any public roads, footpaths, or bike lanes.

Outside of that, the state’s electric scooter laws mean you can only ride approved rideshare rental scooters in designated areas that have active trials arranged by local councils.

This is where it’s important to check your council’s rules, as each trial differs slightly. For example, the Wollongong and Armidale trials permit using a rental e-scooter on select roads, shared paths and bike paths. Meanwhile, the Lake Macquarie trial restricts use solely to designated shared paths.

You also have to be at least 16 years old to legally use any of the approved rideshare e-scooters. Speed restrictions also differ depending on which council you’re in, so check the NSW government’s website for all the up-to-date details.

Victoria

Personal electric scooter use in public is legal in Victoria under an active trial of the technology, provided you follow the rules. Rental e-scooter use, as arranged by councils, is also legal.

According to Victoria’s electric scooter laws, anyone 16 and older can ride on public roads that have a speed limit of up to 60km/h, and shared paths. You cannot ride e-scooters on footpaths or go faster than 20km/h.

Queensland

Queensland has some of the most open electric scooter laws in the country. E-scooters here are counted as a personal mobility device, so they’re covered by all related legislation.

You can ride on most paths and roads as long as you follow specific speed limits and signage. Path speed limits, unless otherwise signed, are as follows:

  • Footpaths — 12km/h
  • Shared paths —12km/h
  • Separated paths—25km/h
  • Bicycle paths — 25km/h

As for roads, e-scooters are generally restricted to roads with speed limits of 50km/h or lower, unless there’s a bike lane separated from traffic. Here’s what the Queensland government website says:

  • Bike lanes on roads with a speed limit of 50km/h or less
    • 25km/h maximum
    • obey speed limits lower than 25km/h
  • Any bike lane that is physically separated from other lanes of traffic (for example by bollards or raised median strip)
    • 25km/h maximum
    • obey speed limits lower than 25km/h
  • Local streets (50km/h or less and no dividing line)
    • 25km/h maximum
    • obey speed limits lower than 25km/h.
Electric scooter laws in Australia
Source: Segway-Ninebot

One of the biggest differences between Queensland and most other states is the age limit. Like other jurisdictions, anyone 16 or older can ride an e-scooter. However, riders as young as 12 can also legally use e-scooters under adult supervision. Once they hit 16, they can ride independently.

South Australia

Like NSW, SA’s electric scooter laws only permit the use of council-approved rideshare e-scooters in public. In SA, the age limit is also higher: you need to be 18 years old to legally ride an e-scooter.

Each council area with active rental e-scooter trials is listed on the SA government website, along with specific rules. 15km/h is the blanket speed limit, and you can only ride on footpaths and shared paths. You can’t ride e-scooters on roads unless it’s to avoid an obstacle. In this case, you can only use the road for 50 metres before returning to the path.

Western Australia

Electric scooter laws in Western Australia fall under the definition of “eRideables” as listed on the government website. You can purchase and use your own e-scooter in WA. Anyone 16 or older can ride e-scooters on footpaths, shared paths, and bike paths. You can also ride on roads with no dividing lines and have a 50km/h speed limit or lower.

WA e-scooter speed limits include the following:

  • Footpaths: 10km/h
  • Shared paths and bike paths: 25km/h
  • Local roads: 25km/h
  • Pedestrian crossings: 10km/h

Tasmania

Similar to Queensland’s electric scooter laws, Tasmania considers e-scooters to be personal mobility devices, under which specific rules apply. This includes both personal use and rental devices, both of which are legal in Tasmania.

People aged 16 years and above can ride e-scooters on footpaths, shared paths, bike paths, and local roads – unless otherwise signed. Roads you can ride on include those with a speed limit of 50km/h or less, and no dividing lines or median strips. You can’t ride on multi-lane, one-way roads.

Speed limits for Tasmanian electric scooter users are 15km/h on footpaths, and 25km/h on shared paths, bike paths, and roads. You can find all the details on Tasmania’s transport site.

Northern Territory

Northern Territory’s electric scooter laws mean that you can only use rental e-scooters in public. You can ride your own e-scooter on private property but not anywhere else currently.

In the NT, anyone 18 or older can use approved rental e-scooters on footpaths, shared paths, and bike lanes. Like SA, road usage is limited to 50 metres to avoid obstacles on paths. Speed limits here are a blanket 15km/h across all surfaces. All the details about e-scooter use in the Northern Territory are available on the state government website.

Australian Capital Territory

As outlined on the ACT Policing website, you can use your own electric scooter in public on footpaths and shared paths. Road use is not permitted unless you’re on a residential street without a footpath. Keep in mind the local speed limits that include the following:

  • Footpaths: 15km/h
  • Shared paths and bike paths: 25km/h
  • Crossings: 10km/h

More information is available via the ACT Transport website.

Australian Electric scooter laws summarised

As legislation changes over time, make sure you check your local transport laws to ensure legal e-scooter use. Several rules remain consistent across the country, like abiding by local traffic rules, wearing an approved bike helmet, not riding under the influence of drugs, and not using your phone while riding.

It’s the specific details about how old you need to be, how fast you can go, and where you can ride electric scooters that change depending on the state you’re in. If in doubt, check your state government’s transport website and your local council to make sure you’re good to go.

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