ACT Government introduces strict penalties for drunk or drugged-up e-scooter riders

Lottie Twyford 2 December 2021 19
E-scooters in the rain

The ACT Government is introducing penalties for people who ride e-scoters while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

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.

READ ALSO: What’s stopping women in Canberra from using public transport or active travel?

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.

READ ALSO: E-scooters the new terror for commuters

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.

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19 Responses to ACT Government introduces strict penalties for drunk or drugged-up e-scooter riders
Jonathan Luke Jonathan Luke 10:02 am 04 Dec 21

There goes the market 😞

William Newby William Newby 10:09 am 03 Dec 21

The AFP are no doubt working on an app where drunk or drugged-up e-scooter riders can just report themselves.

This AFPe-policing is just great isn’t it?

Once again the Barr has been set too low!

William Vass William Vass 10:41 pm 02 Dec 21

Don’t show up for a break-in but worry about scooters. What’s wrong with policing in the ACT???

kenbehrens kenbehrens 7:38 pm 02 Dec 21

Has anyone ever been fined for smoking at a bus stop?
Has anyone been fined for not wearing a mask on public transport?
There have been 170 admissions to ED from issues with these devices. To date, has anyone been fined?
Sure introduce some new big fines, but who is going to charge these people, given that the cops won’t even come out to your home after a robbery.
It’s all some and mirrors.

Steve Frame Steve Frame 5:38 pm 02 Dec 21

What are these for if not a quick scoot to Braddon for a pub scoot?

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 4:17 pm 02 Dec 21

Don’t worry, not a serious crime really so ACT police won’t do anything

    Jason Gendle Jason Gendle 4:28 pm 02 Dec 21

    Richard Willcoxson ya got it backwards mate if it were a serious crime act police would not do anything. This is easy cash so will most definitely ping ya.

Glenn Hayman Glenn Hayman 3:34 pm 02 Dec 21

I hope we're going to have scooter police to catch the scooter bandits

Bill Taylor Bill Taylor 3:26 pm 02 Dec 21

now we just need to fine them for leaving them in the doorways and on the road

    Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 5:00 pm 02 Dec 21

    Bill Taylor and right in the middle of footpaths. Though a requirement for each to have a bell to warn unsuspecting pedestrians when they loom down upon you on a narrow footpath would be good too.

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 3:26 pm 02 Dec 21

Is that more than drunk driving in a car?

nobody nobody 2:45 pm 02 Dec 21

Why didn’t they do this over a year ago, at the same time they first allowed these e-scooters?

Scott Abela Scott Abela 2:39 pm 02 Dec 21

And now the incentives decrease, and the revenue and penalties begin....

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