Know the motorised scooter regulations
The Road Safety Commission (Commission) has issued a warning over the pre-Christmas sale of electric scooters, many of which are illegal to use on West Australian public roads and paths.
Dubbed electric scooters or e-scooters, motorised scooters can only be legally ridden in WA if their maximum power output is no more than 200 watts and they cannot travel more than 10 km/h on level ground.
However, many scooters being advertised for sale as electric scooters or e-scooters in the run-up to Christmas have motors that exceed 200 watts and can travel at speeds up to 25 km/h.
Electric scooters or e-scooters with this capability would be considered motorcycles and are subject to motorcycle vehicle and driver licensing laws; which include holding a motorcycle licence and wearing a protective motorcycle helmet.
“Consumers should choose carefully, by looking at the scooter’s specifications on the manufacturer’s plate on the engine,” said a Commission spokesperson.
“If you purchase a scooter with a higher speed and engine capacity, and ride it on a public road or path, you’re essentially riding an unlicensed motorcycle and WA Police Force will be watching.”
The Commission is concerned that more powerful machines could result in serious injury or even death, not just to the riders, but to other road users and pedestrians.
Australia’s first e-scooter death was recorded in Brisbane in May this year.
The Royal Australian College of Surgeons and the Australian Injury Prevention Network identified that 134 e-scooter riders, from a single e-scooter rental provider in Brisbane, required hospital treatment for head injuries and limb fractures in January and February this year.
Riders of motorised scooters must follow strict rules as to where, and when, they can ride. Riders are permitted on footpaths and shared paths, so long as the rider keeps left and gives way to pedestrians also using the paths.
Riders must also wear a helmet.
The Road Traffic Code 2000
states that motorised scooters cannot be ridden:
- On roads with a speed limit exceeding 50km/h;
- A road with a dividing line or median strip;
- A one way road with more than one marked lane; or
- During the hours of darkness.