Tasmania Legalises E-scooters

Hobart, Tasmania

e-Scooters have been legalised in Tasmania after the State parliament amended Tasmania’s Traffic Act last month.

The Government delivered on its election commitment to allow privately-owned and share scheme scooters on shared paths and selected local roads.

“I’m very pleased to report that e-scooters will be hitting our streets this summer, providing a cost-effective, low-pollution, and convenient transport alternative in Tasmania after the amendment to Traffic Act 1925 to legislate them passed the Legislative Council,” the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, announced.

“Importantly, Parliament agreed with the Government that there are strict rules that go along with this new mode of transport, including consideration of other pedestrians, speed limits and safe-use requirements.

“These modern e-scooters, which contain a range of safety features such as pedestrian detection sensors and poor rider behaviour detection, will be used at certain speeds on most local roads, footpaths, shared paths and bicycle paths. Under the legislation, police have the additional power to confiscate devices ridden without due care and attention.

“These devices will be restricted to a speed of 15km/h on footpaths, and 25km/h on shared paths, bicycle paths and local roads.”

Mr Ferguson said Councils would have the power to restrict footpaths that should not be shared and to add divided local roads to the network on a case-by-case basis.

“Anyone 16 years of age or older will be able to use an e-scooter as long as they wear a helmet and comply with all of the road rules, including speed limits, and don’t use mobile phones,” he said.

“Together with amended regulations which will take effect next week, it will mean that e-scooters will be on our streets this summer.

“A public education campaign on the legal and safe use of e-scooters will be delivered next month, and an evaluation of the regulatory framework will be conducted after one year.”

The legislative amendment was approved unanimously by the Upper House.

“e-Scooters are growing in popularity globally as people look for more innovative and efficient ways to move around cities and communities, replacing cars for short commutes,” Mr Ferguson added.

“I’m sure Tasmanians will enjoy this new transport choice, do the right thing and enjoy using e-scooters responsibly. By working with local government and other jurisdictions, we believe we have achieved the right balance so everyone can enjoy the use of shared infrastructure in a safe and respectful way.”

ACT Drink Riding Bill

It’s two years since e-scooters were legalised in the ACT and that territory is looking to introduce new penalties for using them while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

On December 1, the ACT Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel, announced the Road Transport Legislation Amendment Bill No. 2, targeting e-scooters and other vehicles, sought to amend safety laws to keep pace with changing technology.

The Bill will be debated in 2022 and, if passed, would introduce a new offence for riding a personal mobility device such as an e-scooter, a bike and other types of vehicles, “on road-related areas while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to the extent as to be incapable of having proper control”.

“These new laws will address a gap in our current drug and alcohol legislation, targeting unsafe drink riding on footpaths, shared paths, verges and other road-related spaces,” he said.

“This new offence makes it clear that it’s not acceptable to have a night of heavy drinking, jump on a scooter and risk your own safety and that of others.”

This article was first published in our sister publication, the Micromobility Report.

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