Riding an e-scooter home after a big night out on the town will soon be illegal, and those who do so could be slapped with a $3200 fine.
The ACT Government introduced new laws into the Assembly on Wednesday, 1 December, to ensure those who ride e-scooters while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be penalised.
ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the laws will address a gap in the current drug and alcohol legislation to target unsafe drink riding on footpaths, shared paths, verges and other road-related spaces.
“This new offence makes it clear it’s not acceptable to have a night of heavy drinking, jump on a scooter and risk your own safety and that of others,” he said.
A three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule will be implemented, which was a key recommendation of a recent review into the e-scooter scheme.
Under this rule, multiple acts of non-compliance – such as parking incorrectly or not wearing a helmet – could lead to a user’s account being cancelled.
Furthermore, any repetitious inappropriate conduct, or act that poses an immediate or serious risk to the public or property, will be referred to ACT Policing.
The six-month review of the scheme found users generally believe e-scooters are safe despite some people in the community having concerns about whether they are safe enough.
Earlier this year, the ACT Government introduced legislation that allowed police to direct a person to either get off, or not get on, a personal mobility device.
The introduction of the new legislation comes before the expansion of the e-scooter scheme in 2022.
A first phase will likely connect the two current zones of the city centre and Belconnen.
The scheme will then roll out to Woden and Gungahlin, before areas such as Tuggeranong, Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley.
There are plans to ensure all of Canberra’s major town centres can be connected through a shared path network, keeping riders off major arterial roads.
Both e-scooter companies – Neuron and Beam – welcome the opportunity to expand operations across Canberra.
The Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill No. 2 introduces a new offence for riding a personal mobility device, such as an e-scooter, on road-related areas while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent as to be incapable of having proper control.
The new offence will carry a maximum court penalty of 20 units, but will not carry any imprisonment term or come with automatic licence disqualification.
The bill also proposes several other amendments to the ACT’s road transport legislation, including prohibiting drivers of non-electric cars to park in areas designated for electric vehicle charging.
It will also seek to require owners of vehicles from interstate that are garaged in the ACT for three months to transfer registration to the ACT.
The bill, along with earlier road safety legislation amendments, will be debated by the Assembly in 2022.