Cruising to a solution for e-scooter confusion

Friday 27 January, 2023

Hefty $2000 fines for e-scooter riders will be abolished under new legislation to be introduced by the Opposition, with new laws to allow privately owned devices to be used in public spaces.

At the moment, only e-scooters hired from operators with council permits can be used primarily on footpaths and shared paths in selected trial areas. Those caught riding a private e-scooter may be fined close to $2000 for driving an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle.

Astonishingly, drivers who risk lives by racing more than 45km/h over the speed limit only face a maximum fine of $1756.

The Opposition’s Bill aims to amend the Motor Vehicles Act and Road Traffic Act to enable all e-scooters – and some other mobility devices – to be operated on road or road related areas. E-scooter riders would be exempt from needing registration or insurance. Users also wouldn’t be required to hold a driver’s licence or learner’s permit.

E-scooters and similar devices would not be permitted to travel over 25km/h per hour, on roads with dividing lines, median strips or where the speed limit is greater than 50km/h and must keep as far to the left side of the road as is practicable.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said the amendments would bring South Australia more closely in line with existing rules interstate and provide another environmentally friendly mode of transport.

“The current e-scooter rules are creating confusion, particularly for those with their own devices who have been slapped with a $2000 fine for simply hitting the road,” Mr Speirs said.

“Many South Australians don’t even realise that by using a privately owned e-scooter out on the streets you’re breaking the law – and who can blame them, when hundreds of hire scooters are constantly seen zipping around the city?

“While trials, reviews and inquiries into the issue are ongoing, we believe our legislation is a common-sense approach that will simplify e-scooter use – allowing for private owners to use their personal e-scooters in a similar way to hired ones.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Vincent Tarzia said the legislation would help ease pressure on stretched SAPOL resources.

“There are so many benefits to using e-scooters. They’re an affordable form of transportation, which can help ease cost-of-living pressures. They’re better for the environment than cars and help reduce traffic congestion,” Mr Tarzia said.

“Importantly, police officers will be able to turn their attention to more serious offences to keep the community safe and save time by not stopping e-scooter riders.

“We appreciate there are ongoing assessments when it comes to the sale and use of e-scooters, but the outcomes of these are many months or even years away.

“In the meantime, we believe we have a sensible, practical solution that will end the confusion, get more cars off the road and bring us into line with other jurisdictions.”