Scooter and Bike Share Schemes Are Growing Fast Across Australia

The summary map that you can see at the top of this page was recently published by Zipidi, which is a consultancy run by Stephen Coulter and Krystyna Weston.
When it comes to the status of the industry and government regulations, regarding micromobility in general and particularly in relation to shared e-scooter fleets, there are a number of excellent consultants around Australia, but I don’t know of anyone in Australia with more expertise and contacts than Zipidi.

I was fortunate to recently have a couple of conversations with Stephen to get the latest ‘call of the card’ for the Australian shared micromobility universe. Also for their kind permission to share the above map and latest data, that required many hours of research to compile.
Zipidi plans to publish more details about this data, broken down by state and territory, in future blog posts. You can access both their website and their blog here.

Share Fleets are Growing Fast

Adding up the bike and scooter share fleets, the Australian totals have grown from 18,005 in February 2022 to 28,795 in January 2024. That’s a 60% growth in just under two years.

In terms of units, scooters comprise just over two thirds of this total, therefore bikes are just under a third. Percentage wise, the scooter share fleet grown slightly more slowly at 52%, compared to 79% for the bike share fleet.

But the growth in scooter share is currently restricted by fleet size caps on various trials and other government regulations, that we’ll go into more detail about below. If these restrictions are removed, then there is huge potential for further growth.

Of course, just because the fleets are growing, doesn’t mean that the three main players in Australia: Lime, Beam and Neuron, are trading profitably. To the best of our knowledge, none of these companies release financial data regarding their Australian operations, so we’re left to guess.

They all face huge expenses. First there are the most visible ones, including the supply and maintenance of their fleets and labour intensive ‘rebalancing’ to ensure that the right number of bikes and scooters are at the right locations at the right time.

But other huge expenses hidden from view include onerous insurance requirements placed upon them by government regulators, that I understand are higher than in possibly any other global market, plus fees that are charged by some local governments in return for licencing a particular company to operate within their LGA (local government area).

“The current pricing structures, based on fees to cities and profit expectations for venture capitalists, create a high-cost structure that limits cost-effectiveness,” Stephen Coulter wrote in this recent opinion piece published in the USA-based Zag Daily.

Zipidi advises governments at all levels that for bike and scooter schemes to be most effective, they need to be seen as an integrated part of the overall public transport network. The links from one mode to another should be as seamless as possible, for example by integrating payment within the respective public transport payment scheme such as Opal in Sydney and Myki in Melbourne.

Better Regulations Coming?

There are two main areas in which government regulations currently have a negative impact on e-scooters, in particular.

First is legality of use. As the map shows, private use of e-scooters is still not legal in NSW, SA and NT. It’s still only ‘temporarily’ legal in Victoria until a trial ends on 5th April 2024.

According to Stephen, South Australia has broken the world record for trial duration, having been trailing e-scooters for five years so far. He is quietly confident that that they’ll soon be fully approved for both private and public use.

Stephen is also anticipating that e-scooters, both private and share fleet, will be made ‘permanently’ legal at the end of the current trail in Victoria, which has already been extended multiple times. If this happens, he predicts that it will unleash a huge growth in scooter share scheme fleets.

Currently only three of the 31 local governments areas in greater Melbourne are taking part in the shared e-scooter trial and even within this small portion of the city, the fleet numbers have been tightly capped.

Even for NSW, which has been the most cautious state and the most recent to allow trials, Stephen thinks that e-scooters should become legalised before the end of 2024.

The next area ripe for regulatory improvement relates to technical specifications.

Stephen asserts that Australia would be far better served with uniform regulations across all states and territories. For example, the maximum legal weight varies from state to state. In SA and WA, which has the lightest maximum at 25 kg, scooter share operators cannot deploy their latest, safest and most technically enabled scooter models, because they narrowly exceed that limit.

Another bewildering regulation relates to the maximum length of each scooter. Apart from Victoria, all states currently have a maximum length of 125cm. Stephen says that no-one is entirely sure why this regulation was created or how that specific length was decided upon. It possibly relates to the width of doors on certain buses.

The problem with this restriction is that it forces scooters to have smaller wheels and shorter platforms in order to comply, which lessens their operational safety.
Stephen says that one third of e-scooters currently sold in Australia are longer than the “legal limit”.

Unlike e-bikes, which typically have maximum power outputs of 250 watts (for those complying with the European Pedelec Standard EN15194), for e-scooters there is no limit on power, but rather on speed.

In order to climb the same hills, e-scooters need to be more powerful than e-bikes because they don’t have the assistance of human pedal power.

In most states they are supposed to be speed limited to 25 kph, but Stephen said that a subtle change was made in Queensland. Of course, many more powerful models capable of higher speeds are sold “for use on private land only,” a restriction that most customers immediately ignore.

“In Queensland 25 kph is the speed limit for anyone riding an e-scooter. The scooters themselves don’t have to be speed limited. They’ve adopted a behaviour and enforcement model,” he explained.

Battery Safety

Battery fires are certainly a hot topic of discussion at the moment, no pun intended. As we have reported previously, the main culprits when it comes to e-bikes and e-scooters have been substandard chargers, batteries and battery management systems that don’t meet current regulatory requirements.

According to Stephen there is potential future good news hear thanks to the publication of the European Battery Directive in July 2023.

“It’s the gold standard,” Stephen said. “There will be a flight to quality. Back yard operators won’t have the resources to comply.”

He said that as the various stages of the directive are implemented according to a predetermined schedule, the standards will gradually increase from now until 2030.

Although it only applies to batteries made in, imported to or exported from Europe, because the European market is so large and influential, it will certainly have a significant impact upon the Australian market just like the European Pedelec Standard has been widely adopted in Australia over the past decade.


If we can see better regulations across Australia and most importantly uniformity, which would make life easier for importers and nationwide distributors then there’s no reason to think that the e-bike and e-scooter share scheme market can’t be approaching 50,000 by January 2026.

Although that number may sound small compared to the million plus bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters sold in Australia in a typical year, because each share bike or scooter is usually ridden by multiple different people every day, the share fleet’s size has a much bigger impact on ridership.

Bigger share fleets will lead to more ridership, which in turn has been shown in a range of reports including this one to lead to more private purchases of e-bikes and e-scooters. It should be a win-win for everyone in the micromobility industry.


  1. chris on 29th February 2024 at 8:30 AM

    SA government consulted in 2023 and over 80% supported legalisation, with speed cap of 25km, wearing helmets and no alcohol or drugs. Still no legislation here, malinauskas needs to make this a priority

    • Grace McCaughey on 14th March 2024 at 8:16 AM

      Extremely important to have National Standards.
      Australia needs to immediately prepare nationally/locally for this newish development…
      Safety, helmets, distance issues?
      Max sizes, speeds of vehicles?
      Interconnection with existing transport nodes?

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