The ACT Government is trying to keep pace with the increasing popularity of e-scooters in the nation’s capital and will begin to frame new rules and regulations around the new electric mode of transport.
Running on battery power, e-scooters – both personally owned and rented via scooter-share companies – are becoming a popular mode of transport in Australia’s capitals cities. While the current Canberra e-scooter community is quite small, ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said the local government wanted to address the issue of regulation before it arose.
Mr Ratternbury said ACT Government regulations have been left in the dust of new technologies and has tasked his staff to look at ways to facilitate the use of e-scooters in Canberra.
“We want people to be able to use e-scooters but we need to make sure they are using them safely. Safety will be the key thing that we try to think through as we work on new rules and regulations around this,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“In the last 12 months, there have been more e-scooters and e-skateboards on the road. There is no doubt they are becoming a more available and more affordable transport option for people.
“The sooner we get into this the better, so we can provide both safety and clarity for people who want to use these devices.”
According to the ACT’s Road Transport (Road Rules) Regulation 2017, motorised scooters are not allowed to travel faster than 10 kilometres an hour, with a maximum power output motor of 200 watts. Electric scooters are also banned from travelling on roads under the regulations.
Creating regulations around the electric devices, which are considered motor vehicles in some states, is proving difficult but Mr Rattenbury hopes to have the ACT framework in place towards the end of this year.
Mr Rattenbury said the government’s framework will regulate the power and speed of E-scooters to ensure the vehicles travel safely and legally in the nation’s capital.
Questions the government will seek to answer is the age required to drive an e-scooter, mandatory use of helmets, alcohol and mobile phone use and whether they can be ridden on footpaths and roads.
“There are discussions going on nationally and all the jurisdictions around Australia are having to think about these questions,” he said. “No one is quite certain about what the framework is going to be.
“We need to ensure that other road users know they are around. Some people are surprised by the speed of the e-scooters. It’s a surprise to both motorists and pedestrians.”