Electric scooters are gaining speed in the nation’s capital, as the ACT Government considers changing road rules to accommodate the new mode of transport on Canberra’s roads and footpaths.
It is currently illegal to ride electric scooters on roads and footpaths in the ACT, with infringement notices up to $151 being issued.
ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said he wants to get on the “front foot” with the new devices and has launched a discussion paper seeking the community’s opinion on whether the vehicles should be allowed to travel on the road, footpaths and other high pedestrian areas.
The ACT Government is also deciding what the speed limit should be for e-scooters and whether there should be an age limitation on who may drive them. Mr Rattenbury said he wants to facilitate the safe use of e-scooters and similar devices in the ACT without compromising road safety.
“E-scooter use has increased globally, particularly via rideshare operators, and we have seen trials of these devices pop up throughout Australia,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“E-scooters and similar devices are currently not permitted to be used in public areas in the ACT – however people are keen to use these new types of personal transportation devices.
“We need to make sure our regulations keep pace with these new technologies.
“It is important that e-scooters and similar devices are appropriately regulated to ensure they are used safely and that we minimise the potential for injuries or other conflicts.”
Other states and countries have a range of different laws regarding the use of e-scooters, with Queensland the only Australian jurisdiction to regulate the use of personal transportation devices on footpaths and shared pathways.
In Queensland, e-scooters and similar devices are allowed to travel on footpaths, shared paths, bicycle paths, bicycle side of separated paths, and on roads with speed limits of 50km/h or less.
Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government will put a rigorous regime in place to make sure all members of the public are safe and to mitigate any safety concerns.
“Helmets will be required, you are not allowed to use your mobile while riding and you can’t be impacted by drugs and alcohol while riding an e-scooter,” he said.
“There are question marks around what speed people should be allowed to ride at, where should they be allowed to ride at and what age limit should be put in place to ride an e-scooter.”
The ACT Government has been approached by three or four different scooter-share companies who are “very keen” to operate in the ACT, which Mr Rattenbury said the government was very open to.
Mr Rattenbury said a separate exercise will be undertaken to develop a legislative framework for commercial operators of dockless share schemes for e-scooters and bikes to build on the ACT’s successful bike share trial.
The consultation will run for four weeks, click here to have your say.