ARTICLE
19 April 2024

Electric scooter trials in regional centres in NSW

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Stacks Law Firm

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Stacks Law Firm is a leading Australian legal service provider with more than 250 people operating locally in many Australian communities. We are committed to supporting the legal needs of everyday Australians and businesses across every stage of life.
The NSW government has started 12-month trials to allow people to rent e-scooters in selected regional centres.
Australia Transport
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The electric scooter is growing in popularity in Europe as a means of urban transport, and there has been pressure in Australia to allow them to be used on cycleways and selected public roads.

In many European cities, a person can rent an e-scooter on the spot, ride it wherever they want to go, and drop it off at a special parking spot for recharging. You pay only for the time you use the scooter.

Trials allow people to rent electric scooters from selected providers

The NSW government now has started 12-month trials that will allow people to rent an electric scooter from selected providers in several regional centres. (Please see NSW E-scooter Shared Scheme Trial, Transport for NSW, 11 October 2023.)

The regional trials are taking place in Forster-Tuncurry, Albury, Wollongong, Armidale and Lake Macquarie. (Please see E-Scooters, Centre for Road Safety.)

During the 12-month trial, riders can rent an electric scooter from a selected provider and ride it within specified areas.

The government will review the success or otherwise of the rented e-scooter trials to decide whether to allow them in major cities and for wider use in regional centres.

Where can I ride my electric scooter in NSW?

NSW transport rules will have to be changed to allow electric scooters on public roads.

Currently an electric scooter is classified as a motorised vehicle under NSW Road Rule 240(2)(c), as it is propelled "by means other than human power" and banned from public roads, footpaths and bicycle lanes. (Please see Electric scooters a legal grey area as trial conducted in NSW.)

But during the trial you can ride your rented electric scooter on designated shared paths and roads within the trial zones. Private e-scooters are still banned.

You must be over 16, stay under 20 kph on roads and 10 kph on shared paths, wear a helmet, use lights in the dark and not ride an electric scooter after drinking alcohol.

Break these trial rules and penalties of $120 apply. Not wearing a helmet or using a mobile phone while riding incurs a $362 fine.

Accidents involving electric scooters

There are concerns about insurance for scooter riders and anyone they collide with. While those providing e-scooters for rental must have insurance for their fleet, this may not cover personal injury or damage to other property.

Those hit by an electric scooter may have rights under public liability law and seek compensation. It would be wise to get legal advice before you take up e-scooting.

Paris bans rented electric scooters

Paris has a word of warning about embracing rented e-scooters. They were so popular that the city was overrun with 15,000 rental e-scooters.

In August 2023 the city banned them. In response Parisians simply bought them, and now private e-scooters zip around the city. (Please see Rented e-scooters cleared from Paris streets on eve of ban, The Guardian, 1 September 2023.)

Dion Bull

Planning and environment

Stacks Law Firm

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
19 April 2024

Electric scooter trials in regional centres in NSW

Australia Transport

Contributor

Stacks Law Firm is a leading Australian legal service provider with more than 250 people operating locally in many Australian communities. We are committed to supporting the legal needs of everyday Australians and businesses across every stage of life.
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