Private versus commercial e-scooters

Private versus commercial e-scooters
Snr Sgt Alex OToole

Since the CBD has opened up post pandemic and workers have returned to the office, the use of personal electric scooters (e-scooters) has increased dramatically along with other electrically-powered skateboards.

The vast majority of e-scooters are illegal to ride on public roads and can only be legally ridden on private property. E-scooters that are more than 200 watts or can travel at more than 10 km/h, and e-skateboards that are used on public roads are classified as motor vehicles and subject to the same legal requirements, such as:

  • Licensing
  • Registration
  • Road rules
  • Drink/drug driving laws
  • Safety standards

Most e-scooters/e-skateboards do not have number plates, speedometers, signals or warning devices and don’t always have visible rear lights so they can’t be registered. This can make e-scooters very dangerous to the rider, pedestrians and other road users.

The City of Melbourne currently has an e-scooter trial running which began in February this year. Two companies – Lime and Neuron – are the approved commercial hire companies where riders can rent e-scooters as a form of transport. The use of these commercial e-scooters is legal – as opposed to personal e-scooters that are more than 200 watts or can travel more than 10km/h.

The following trial rules must be followed by e-scooter riders:

  • Must not ride on footpaths
  • Can only ride in bicycle lanes, on shared paths and lower speed roads (up to 50km/h)
  • Will be automatically speed-limited to 20km/h
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must wear a helmet
  • Must not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Riders must be below 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and have zero presence for prescribed drugs (heavy fines and loss of licence penalties apply)
  • Must not consume intoxicating substances while riding
  • Must not use a mobile device while riding 
  • Must not carry passengers
  • Must ride single file
  • Must park an e-scooter in accordance with council and operator requirements

It’s important to note that e-scooters are not permitted on footpaths and roads where there is a speed limit above 50 km/h, even if there is a protected bike lane.

The trial will run for 12 months. Southbank residents can report issues surrounding e-scooters by heading to the City Of Melbourne e-scooter web page:

Lime and Neuron are responsible for their e-scooters. Southbank Police are aware of issues where e-scooters are parked outside residential buildings obstructing entries and carparks. We encourage residents to report parking and other identified issues.

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