Electric Scooters & Road Laws (VIC)

VicRoads Electric Scooter Regulations (Melbourne and Victoria) - CLICK HERE 

The Law

Like the early days of Uber, the laws are taking some time to catch up with changes in technology and society.  

Victorian law stipulates that a motorised scooter cannot travel faster than 10km/h. Additionally, a motorised scooter must have a maximum power output of 200 watts or less. Electric scooters that do not meet these stipulations can be used on private property, but not in public.

If an electric scooter fails to meet these requirements, it is classified as a motor vehicle. If classified as a motor vehicle, the electric scooter must be registered, and the rider must have a valid motorcycle license.

Due to the historical view of "mobility scooters", electric scooters are currently grouped with pedestrians, rather than bicycles. Victorian law makers currently seem to appreciate this classification error and given they occupy a similar footprint and have similar mobility to a bicycle, would expect them to be realigned closer to bikes than pedestrians in new laws.

There also seems to be an understanding that limiting a scooter's power output is not necessarily the correct approach either. It does not accommodate larger riders. Less power does not equate to safer riding. It would make far more sense to simply apply speed limits to electric scooters, just as they do to motor vehicles of all power output levels.

The Reality

The Victorian Government, and indeed other State Governments, along with the Federal Government, are reviewing the laws relating to electric scooters, and have seemingly recognised the need to fast-track the review, in light of the pressing needs to maintain social distancing and ease the load on the public transport system, as we come out the other side of the COVID-19. 

Existing infrastructure can be re-imagined and repurposed without huge expense to include electric scooters as a timely and cost-effective solution. It's much cheaper and quicker to remove parking lanes, rather than build tunnels.

Legislation Review Timeline

MAY 2021 - Infrastructure and Transport National Cabinet Reform Committee.
The Federal Transport Minister (Deputy PM Michael McCormack), every State Transport Minister and ALGA President will decide whether Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs), including electric scooters and electric skateboards, will be included in the Australian Road Rules. This requires unanimous support without a single veto from any of the States.
JUNE 2021 ONWARDS
If successful, the Australian Road Rules will be amended. However this doesn't mean it's legal in Victoria yet. The Australian Road Rules only provide a template regulation for the Victorian State government to legalise PEVs. Each individual State government will need to adopt these changes and incorporate them into their own State road rules. Hopefully this will occur before the end of 2021.

In the Meantime

I have been riding electric scooters in Melbourne for more than 3 years. I encounter police regularly and they have never shown any inclination to challenge the legality of my ride. Of course, you should ride in a manner which is safe and respectful of other road (and footpath) users. We recommend that you:

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Give way to pedestrians and always give them plenty of room/space. 
  • Ride at no more than 25 km/h.
  • If moving amongst pedestrians, ride at walking pace.
  • If riding at night, have adequate safety lighting.
  • Be courteous and considerate. Give a clear verbal warning when approaching other riders and pedestrians from behind... "Passing on your right". 

News, Links & Resources:

  • VicRoads Regulations - [LEGISLATION] 
  • SBS - Victorian government pledge $13 million for cycling infrastructure, introduce road rule (7 Oct 2020) [ARTICLE]
  • Amy Gillet Foundation - "A Metre Matters" To Be Passed in Vic Alongside $13M VIC Government Support for Cycling Infrastructure [ARTICLE - 7 Oct 2020
  • National Transport & Infrastructure Council [WEB SITE]
  • Committee for Melbourne - Transport Taskforce [WEB SITE
  • Committee for Melbourne - Rebuilding Melbourne with E-Transport [WEBINAR]
  • The Guardian: Australian E-Scooters' Bumpy Ride: "Like When Automobiles Appeared on Streets Filled with Horses" (15 Mar 2021 - ARTICLE - https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/15/australian-e-scooters-bumpy-ride-like-when-automobiles-appeared-on-streets-filled-with-horses]
  • The Age - City of Port Phillip backs e-scooter trial over summer [ARTICLE]
  • City of Port Phillip: Electric scooter trial a step closer in Port Phillip (Oct 2019) [ARTICLE]
  • ABC: Calls for E-Scooter Laws to Be Relaxed Across Australia [ARTICLE]
  • Adelaide Advertiser: How E-Scooters Challenge Outdated Assumptions About Our Roads [ARTICLE]
  • BBC: Why we have a love-hate relationship with electric scooters [ARTICLE]