Victoria is the latest state to legalise privately owned e-scooters, the Victorian government announced last week.
Meanwhile the scooter share scheme trial is being extended by a further six months.
The extension took effect from Wednesday and will enable e-scooter share schemes to operate throughout the State, subject to establishing an agreement with the local council, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Melissa Horne, said.
The Minister also revealed trial share scheme operating in three Melbourne local government areas – Yarra, Port Philip and Melbourne – and in the regional city of Ballarat are expected to continue.
The announcements come after the State Government released a summary of its findings from the share service pilots.
It also outlined the conditions of use for privately-owned scooters, noting private e-scooter ownership is widespread in Victoria, with approximately 100,000 throughout the State, even though they have been illegal to ride on public roads.
The summary announced a reduction in the minimum age for e-scooter riders, to 16 years of age, as the government evaluated the safety of e-scooter use.
In addition, riders will be able to use them on roads with speed limits up to 60kmh.
“Younger Victorians are interested in using e-scooters during the trial period, and we noted that restricting riders to roads with a speed limit of 50 kilometre per hour had limitations on where riders could travel,” the summary says.
An analysis of trial results found hire e-scooters during the trials improved first and last-kilometre connections, increased activity leaves in neighbourhoods and precincts and delivered economic benefits for local businesses, including job creation.
It also found demand among Victorians to use micromobility devices such as e-scooters is growing.
“More than 3.7 million short trips have been taken on e-scooters in Melbourne, alongside more than 200,000 in Ballarat, throughout the trial,” the government revealed in a statement.
“Data from the trial shows the main reason people hire a trial e-scooter is for leisure, social outings, commuting or to visit cafes, reducing congestion and carbon emissions – with around 400 tonnes of carbon avoided through e-scooter use.”
The summary says the government now better understands how e-scooters can operate in Victoria, both in a metropolitan and regional city environment.
“We also identified concerns related to the use of e-scooters, which we have addressed through new rules to ensure their safe and practical use.”
Those rules include:
- Riders must wear a helmet, be at least 16 years of age and adhere to the same blood alcohol content (BAC) and drug use restrictions as drivers. Riders cannot consume alcohol while travelling on an e-scooter.
- E-scooters can only be used on roads with a speed limit of 60 kilometres or less. They can be ridden on roads, in bicycle lanes, on bicycle paths or separated and shared paths – but not on footpaths.
- E-scooters cannot travel above 20 kilometres per hour.
- Devices capable of exceeding 25 kilometres per hour are not classified as e-scooters and are still illegal.
The Australia and NZ general manager of share service provider Lime, Hugo Burt-Morris, said the Victorian Government’s announcement is “testament that micromobility is here to stay”.
“It’s been proven to work across the millions of shared rides and tens of millions of private rides taken across Australia over the last year. It’s proof that these modes are sustainable, safe, reliable and that they are here for the long term.
“Will I be buying an e-scooter? Maybe. But I want an >250w e-cargo bike first.”
Share service provider Beam welcomed the news and pledged to work closely with local councils to bring shared e-scooter operations to regions across the State that are keen to embrace a new mode of clean transport.
Beam’s General Manager (ANZ) Tom Cooper said: “We support the Victorian Government’s focus on the safe use and regulation of e-scooters across the State, and look forward to expanding our operations across the State following yesterday’s announcement.
“Beam has invested heavily into safety technology, rider education and enforcement in Australia, with footpath detection technology, drink riding deterrence tests and other Beam-first features currently in place outside of the State.
“We are confident that our investments, including offering rider personal accident and third-party liability insurance with every Beam trip, and our focus on safe parking and riding, address the key concerns that Melburnians have had with this new mode of transport thus far.”
Beam currently operates shared e-bike schemes in the City of Melton and City of Hobsons Bay.
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Is the Victorian Government’s decision to include privately-owned scooters in the extended trial a major milestone for the e-scooter industry in Australia?