Private e-scooters to get legal green light

E-scooters, e-skateboards and other privately-owned mobility devices will be legally allowed on South Australian roads and footpaths without registration or a licence under new legislation.

Jun 18, 2024, updated Jun 18, 2024
Legislation is being introduced to state parliament to legalise the use of private e-scooters and other mobility devices on South Australian roads and footpaths. Photo: Unsplash

Legislation is being introduced to state parliament to legalise the use of private e-scooters and other mobility devices on South Australian roads and footpaths. Photo: Unsplash

The state government will introduce the Statues Amendment (Personal Mobility Devices) Bill, which if passed will allow people to use privately owned e-scooters and other mobility devices without needing registration or a licence.

The Bill comes after the government promised to introduce the legislation this year following public consultation in 2023, which found people were broadly supportive.

Under current laws, it is illegal to ride “motorised wheeled recreational devices” such as e-scooters, electric skateboards, segways, hoverboards and self-balancing unicycles on roads, footpaths, bike tracks or in car parks.

Adelaide City Council has been running e-scooter trials since February 2019, with several temporary extensions to the trials granted by the state government.

The bill being introduced would allow use of the scooters on footpaths and other pedestrian infrastructure, in bike lanes and on roads with a speed limit of 50km/h.

A speed limit of 25km/h would apply to the devices on roads, bike lanes and separated paths, with a limit of 15km/h on footpaths and other shared pedestrian paths.

Other proposed regulations include a requirement to wear a helmet at all times, a restriction on using the devices while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a minimum age limit of 16 for unsupervised use.

As well as the Adelaide City Council trials, there has been public consultation on the potential of legalising the devices, with 87 per cent of respondents to government consultation supporting the use of e-scooters on public roads and paths.

The state government said it would consider research and consultation with experts when finalising regulations.

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Infrastructure and Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the public consultation “showed a clear appetite for an ongoing use of e-scooters and other personal mobility devices like e-skateboards and unicycles to be used in public areas”.

“We know that a greater choice of sustainable modes of transport promotes equity and convenience and can help reduce emissions – however most of these devices are not currently legal on our road network,” he said.

Opposition transport spokesperson Vincent Tarzia said his party would support the Bill.

“We think it is about time that the government got out of the slow lane when it comes to e-scooters…this has been an idea that has been a long time coming,” Tarzia said today.

The Opposition previously introduced a similar bill in 2023, but it was knocked back.

At that time Tarzia said the party had “a sensible, practical solution that will end the confusion, get more cars off the road and bring us into line with other jurisdictions”.

When the Opposition’s Bill was introduced, Premier Peter Malinauskas said the government was waiting for parliament’s Select Committee on Public and Active Transport to deliver its findings from an inquiry into the legislation.

“Unlike the Liberals, we’re committed to genuine engagement with the community and all users,” Malinauskas said.

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