Street legal: New legislation to allow private e-scooters on public roads

SA Gov

The State Government will this week introduce legislation to parliament that will pave the way for e-scooters to be used on public roads and paths.

The Statutes Amendment (Personal Mobility Devices) Bill 2024 will allow privately-owned e-scooters and other personal mobility devices to be ridden on roads and in other public areas.

On passage of the Bill, there will be no requirement to register a personal mobility device or for the rider to hold a licence.

The Government proposes to take a broad access approach, permitting use on footpaths and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as in bike lanes and on roads where the default speed limit is a maximum of 50km/h. It is proposed that a speed limit of 25km/h will apply on roads, bike lanes and separated paths and a lower speed limit of no more than 15km/h on footpaths and shared paths with pedestrians.

These will be imposed by regulation, which will be consulted on before implementation. Other proposed regulations will enshrine safety requirements including the use of a helmet at all times, that PMDs cannot be used under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that riders must be aged 16 and older to ride PMDs unsupervised.

The new legislation follows extensive consultation last year with private e-scooter users and the broader community where 87 per cent of respondents to a yourSAy survey supported the ongoing use of e-scooters on public roads and paths.

Results showed that 76 per cent of respondents supported riders not being required to hold a licence while 68 per cent didn’t see a need to register or insure their devices.

The survey received mixed opinions on maximum speed limits with some preferring a 15km/h maximum on pedestrian infrastructure like footpaths while others were in favour of 25kph. Generally, respondents were in favour of a 25km/h speed limit when in bike lanes and on roads, where permitted.

The State Government will consider current research and consultation with industry experts and stakeholders when finalising the regulations.

The use of privately-owned personal mobility devices will remain prohibited on public roads and paths in South Australia until the Bill has successfully passed Parliament and the framework implemented.

Currently e-scooters are only permitted for use under trial conditions, with trials operating within Adelaide’s CBD and North Adelaide, the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters, and along the coastal park path in the City of Charles Sturt in partnerships between local councils and commercial e-scooter fleet operators.

As put by Tom Koutsantonis

Our consultation with e-scooter users and the broader community showed a clear appetite for an ongoing use of e-scooters and other personal mobility devices like e-skateboards and unicycles to be used in public spaces.

We know that a greater choice of sustainable modes of transport promotes equity and convenience and can help reduce emissions – however most of these devices are not currently legal on our road network.

Today, I am pleased to be giving notice to introduce new legislation that will pave the way for privately-owned e-scooters and other personal mobility devices to be introduced to South Australian roads with future-proof regulations to keep all road users safe.

Following commencement of the Bill, personal mobility device fleet hire operations are expected to continue and possibly expand to other locations across the state.

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