Added time for e-scooter trial

April 7, 2023 BY

More wheels: E-scooter rules have changed with privately owned devices now legal and Ballarat’s hire scheme trail extended. Photo: FILE

PRIVATELY owned electric scooters are no longer banned and younger riders can hit the road as part of a six-month extension to a Victorian e-scooter trial.

The only e-scooters that were legally allowed on the road are those available through hire companies, but that changed last week.

Anyone aged over 16 and wearing a helmet will be allowed to travel on e-scooters in bicycle lanes and shared paths or on roads with a speed limit of 60kph or less.

Given Victorians could get their learner drivers licence at 16, it made sense to let them ride e-scooters at the same age, State roads minister Melissa Horne said.

The scooters are not allowed on footpaths and must not travel at more than 20kph, while only one person is allowed on board at a time.

E-scooters capable of travelling at more than 25kph remain banned and riders must follow the same blood alcohol content and drug rules as drivers.

More than 200,000 in Ballarat since the trial kicked off in early 2022 and City of Ballarat mayor the extension of the region’s scooter higher program.

“The e-scooters provide a safe, fun, and environmentally friendly way to see our beautiful city,” he said.

State Government data estimates there was about 100,000 privately owned e-scooters in Victoria, and relevant departments would fine-tune the regulatory framework for their use over the next six months, Ms Horne said.

“We know e-scooters are popular with many Victorians, so we’re extending the trial in Victoria under these strict regulations to ensure people travel responsibly and safely,” she said.

The Government would also roll out an education campaign about the scooters.

People were mostly concerned about e-scooters being ridden on footpaths, and they would essentially be treated like bikes when it came to collisions with pedestrians, Ms Horne said.

There were 324 collisions involving e-scooters in Victoria and 16 privately owned vehicles were impounded between December 2021 and February 2022, according to Victoria Police.

More than 1000 infringements were issued to riders during that time, two-thirds of which were for failing to wear a helmet or riding on a footpath.